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From: The fatal shore by Robert Hughes

Aboriginals had many tribes,

Sydney: Iora tribe

700 sq, miles from Pittwater to Botany Bay, Cut In half by Sydney Harbour Tribal subgroups north and South Cameragal and Kadigal Cameragal and Walumedegal Along north shore of the harbour Booragegal

On Bradley head Kadigal around what is now Circular Quay and Botanical g



Dario people lived past Windsor and Hawkesbury river area,

2300 sq miles from coast north of Iora to Katoomba/Blackheath in the south


Tarawal. Territory began on South shore of Botany Bay.


Iora lived mainly on fish, shellfish and oysters. The shells, middens, were heaped in front of caves. Hunting weapons: spear, stone axe, fire sticks. Hunting spears had only one spring: fire hardened wood, flint, bone, shark tooth. Knocked birds out of trees with stones. Or laid on ground ,asleep, holding fish. Bird came. Caught bird! Picked snakes up by tail and whipped head to kill. Shimmied up trees to get honey, marsupials,  set fires then clubbed possums, snakes, lizards, goannas as they fled. Often used caves to live in.


Used fish oil to deter mosquitoes.


Women twisted fishing lines from pounded bark fibre and made hooks from turban shells. They fished in pairs. The men speared the fish that the women brought in on the lines.

The spear had 4 prongs of wallaby or bird bone ground and set in gum resin.


Canoes made of bark. Ends tied with bark twine and seams caulked with gum. Fires burnt on wet clay on bottom of the boat to cook  their catch.


Manly Cove named after aboriginal manliness and bearing.


Women had no rights. Wives often given for favours, swapped with other tribesmen to facilitate brotherhood. Used to prevent war with other tribes. Used in corroboree  too. Pregnancy did not shield women from violent use. Too many children impeded nomadic life. Women had to carry their own children. They breastfed babies 2/3 years. Adult food not suitable for children.  Abortions common by herbs or violence. Deformed children killed. Orphans killed.


Nomadic life had nomadic religion. No churches or sacred places. The landscape itself as they walked was their religion.

Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people are advised that this site may contain photos and information of people who are deceased.  

hands on the rock, bylong

Wiradjuri Nation: Beginning to Early Settlement, P.1

wiradjuri painting cave

Caves at Hands on the Rocks, an Aboriginal sacred place
 near Mudgee.

Aboriginal tribes in Mudgee belonged to the Wiradjuri Nation, which extended from the Blue Mountain eastern ranges to the Lachlan and Murrumbidgee rivers in the west, with the Murray River forming the southern border and the Wellington plains and hills the northern border. About 7,000 Wiradjuri people lived in the Bathurst region, when it became the European ruling area and the first town settled west of the Blue Mountains.
At Bathurst in 1824, Governor Macquarie found the Wiradjuri a handsome people, truly ‘noble savages’ unaffected by civilized settlement. The governor found them peace loving, content, shy, gracious and having a certain uncivilized innocence as well as being inoffensive and clean in their person. He described the Wiradjuri people as being clothed in mantles made from the skins of opossums, neatly sewn together and the outside of the skin decorated with carvings.
The Wiradjuri nation was split and sub-split into many tribes. In Mudgee, the Mowgee clan extended over a 50km radius. The Mowgee women’s totem was the wedge tail eagle (Mullian) and the men’s totem the crow (Waggan). They settled around the Cudgegong River, using its resources for food, and water.
The Mudgee district holds many sacred Aboriginal sites and cave painting, some sites with evidence of tool making. Some of the better known and accessible sites include Hands on the Rocks; The Drip; Babyfoot Cave (more information following).
Many Mudgee districts were named after the local Wiradjuri tribal areas, including Mudgee itself (nest in the hills), Lue (Loowee, a chain of waterholes), Gulgong (a gully), Wollar (a rock water hole), Menah (flat country), Eurunderee (a local tree), Guntawang (a peaceful place), Cooyal (dry country), Wilbertree (a long switch), Gooree (native chasing live animal), Burrendong (darker than usual) The Aboriginal name of the Rylstone area was Combamolang.
Aboriginal people known to the explorer William Lawson, based in the Bathurst settlement, told him there was a fine country towards the north-west of Bathurst, which later became described as the ‘land of milk and honey’.
In 1821, James Blackman jnr and an Aboriginal guide called Aaron (Aaron’s Pass near Mudgee is named after this Aboriginal man), travelled

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Sources for The Wiradjuri Nation:

Healing the Land: A closer look at the needs of the Australian reconciliation movement   Vol 1 by Judith Monticone.  Published by Healing the Land 1999.

The Mudgee Guardian  January  25, 2001
Centenary of Federation feature  by Diane Simmonds, plus unpublished research. 

Historical information given  to author by local historian Laura Wallis and local resident Doug Rochester.

Apple Tree Flat: A Gateway to Mudgee
by Bob Pauling
for Mudgee Historical Society.
Wikipedia the free encyclopedia


A page to research
Wiradjuri Ancestry
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