Beagle Bay was the name given to it by J. C. Whickham in 1838 which he surveyed the area while aboard the Beagle. However the Nyul Nyul people had always called it Ngarlun Burr which means place surrounded by springs. We had been told that we MUST stop in at the Beagle Bay Aboriginal community to see their famous Sacred Heart church. I am obsessed with shells and this place has been decorated with almost only shells. Millions of them. It was amazingly beautiful! The church is a fusion of traditional Nyul Nyul, Mimanborr and Bardi symbols and European mosaic technique resulting in a unique expression of art and faith.
Like the Sun Pictures in Broom this church and the beach at Lombadina was also in the film Bran Nue Dae. This community has had many missionaries in it’s time. First a Scottish priest and then French Trappist Monks and then German Pallottine missionaries. There were also the Sisters of St John of God from Ireland here. The Sisters were teachers and nurses and they cared for the Stolen Generation children brought to Beagle Bay under government orders. The community is now run by an Aboriginal corporation.
It was the German priests and brothers together with the local Nyul Nyul people who are the traditional owners of this land that built this church.