Gundungurra Tribal Council – Gundungurra

Gundungurra Tribe History _

Our History

Although nothing is certain about the first existence of the Gundungurra, they are a tribe found to be in existence as far back as the 19th century. They are located in the south-east area of New South Wales in Australia. We share boundaries with the Dharug and the Eora towards the north and towards the east, with Darkinurg, Wiradjuri Ngunawal, and Thurrawal.

In our earliest days, we were welcoming to strangers we regarded as friends and even built them yam beds and huts. However, things turned down south in 1811 when some of the Aborigines were driven away to complain about unpaid employment by the whites they worked for. This later degenerated to a full-blown war named “the frontier war.”

It was a war of freedom against discrimination as well as slavery. Lands have always been important to the region’s inhabitants. When the European colonialists attempted to expand their territories and acquire large areas for themselves, the Gundungurra joined forces with her neighbours to fight such a form of colonisation.

As fearless people, the native people were less scared of the Europeans using Guns on them but instead planned to attack them with spears while reloading their guns. Although many lives were lost, such wisdom is palpable and has never departed from the Gundungurra Tribe. Despite several attempts to destroy the whole community of people, the Gundungurra survived it all and has consistently lived as an organised social group and nation.

The above story can be compared to the popular story of Gurangatch, a rainbow serpent, and a quoll named Mirragah.  It is believed that the latter was chasing the former, and the space covered by these two creatures formed their land topography today. The story, as believed, happened in a time when animals were humans.

When Mirragah chased Gurangatch, a half rainbow serpent and a half-fish to a water hole referred to as Joolundoo, the latter found a hiding place in the water and maneuvered his way to the top of a rocky ridge. The two creatures fought for a very long time, so much that it weathers the rock down to what is now known as the “slippery rock.”

Before the European colonialists’ invasion, the Gundungurrra inhabited the Blue Mountains alongside the Darug and Burra tribes. The Gundungurra is one of the aboriginal traditional and ancient communities that spoke in Ngunnawal, a variation of Yuin-Kuric language under the family umbrella of the Pama-Nyungari language.

Their land area is estimated to be about eleven-thousand-kilometre square. Rivers surround the Gundungurra, among which are the Avon and Wollondilly Rivers.

Their foods are borne out of their interactions with nature. They usually caught animals and gather larvae on their way to Jenolan. However, the Gundungurra believe in maximum utilisation of their source of feeding resources and sustenance and, therefore, do not interfere in animal creatures’ growth or reproduction process. They maintain a suitable pattern that allows animals to breed and plants to grow.