The site is now covered by water and the stones that once formed the base of the fish mungah on the bottom of the river bed are not visible from the surface. This is one of the most important ceremonial and historic sites in the region and was the scene of a yearly gathering of Noongar people from all around the region for the annual mullet catch.
The Barragup mungah had existed for many generations and each year saw a huge gathering of Noongar people from all over the larger area assembling for the annual mullet catch. The white fishermen who came to the Mandurah area in the nineteenth century believed that the fish mungah represented a threat to the industry and broke it down, but each time it was carefully rebuilt by the Noongars. In 1890, the Fisheries Department decided that the mungah should be finally destroyed on the grounds that it was ‘perfectly destructive of fish life’. An Aboriginal leader named Billy Dower complained about this and when the Governor of Western Australia Sir Gerald Smith visited Mandurah, he told him that the mungah had been used by his people for generations and was essential for the well-being of the Noongars of the area. As reported in the pages of The West Australian.
He asked on behalf of himself and his companions that the white man, after taking the blacks’ patrimony and after depriving them of their hunting grounds to make pasture for their cattle, should not be allowed to despoil them of their method of catching fish, by which they subsisted and which require patient labour to create. The mungah had been built twice and each time marauding white men had broken it and cast their nets for the mullet (19.10.1897)