Darkinjung Country signs are misleading

Darkinjung Local Land Council offices.

Forum –

Road signs appearing recently around the Central Coast reading Darkinjung Country are misleading.

Motorists and pedestrians seeing these signs would incorrectly assume that they are in Darkinjung traditional tribal land.

According to Wikipedia, “The Darkinjung tribe inhabited land in the area west of the Central Coast whose territory extended from the Hawkesbury River northwards about 60km to Wollombi and the Hunter River”.

As Aboriginal tribal lands were never properly surveyed, this would accord with the Aborigines themselves determining their tribal land boundaries by mountains, rivers and valleys.

The sites on the Central Coast where these signs have been erected by Transport for NSW at Bushells Ridge, Catherine Hill Bay, Cheero Point, Doyalson, Empire Bay and Ourimbah are the traditional lands of the coastal Kurringai and Awabagal tribes, not Darkinjung.

Would these signs be an insult to any descendants of the Kurringai and Awabagal tribes?

Perhaps the answer would be to relocate these signs to traditional Darkinjung lands in the Wollombi, St.Albans and Cessnock areas.

Email, Mar 29
Robert Bourke, Woongarrah

8 Comments on "Darkinjung Country signs are misleading"

  1. Jeff Delaney | April 10, 2021 at 2:32 pm |

    Is Wikipedia be all & end all regarding to be true & accurate. I believe it’s just like media, especially yours & that is missleading inaccurate & certainly not the complete truth or close to the truth. Critical analysed would be more towards fairness. After your organisation has been informed with true & accurate information, you neglect to inform our community (Bob Sirens a proven Tradinal Owner). It’s completely one sided manipulation for the general public to be swayed into something of a inaccurate judgement by you. I ask why?
    Please be different & print true full facts.

  2. The Central Coast from Sydney to Newcastle is not Kuring-gai Tribe ,language, or Nation the word Kuringgai has been recorded as is a place and other meanings and the Guringai People are not from the Central Coast from Sydney to Newcastle they are well recorded 1820 North of the Hunter river NSW. some people are only publishing what they like hearing.

    A review of the historical context for the use of the word ‘Guringai’http://www.aboriginalheritage.org/wp-content/uploads/Filling-a-Void-Guringai-Language-Review-2015.pdf

    7 aboriginal land Councils from Sydney to Newcastle have written a letter to the Premier NSW that the Guringai, Gringai spelt many other ways are from the North of the Hunter River.

    The Tawny Frogmouth magazine


    The Guringai, Guringay or Gringai people are the traditional custodians of the land between the Hunter and Manning Rivers, from the ocean to and including the Great Dividing Range. A saltwater people whose land extended inland as far as the salt pushed. From modern day Newcastle to Singleton, on the northern side of the Hunter, through the Barrington’s and back down the Manning to the ocean. This is traditional Gringai country. Bordering the Birripai speaking people of the north, the Awabakal people to the south and the Wannarua and Komelroi people to the west.

    Descending from one of the four traditional nations of our language group, we have continued the strong connection to our old people, our old ways, our country, our language, our stories and our kinship. Traditionally our language group encompassed the lands between the Hawkesbury and Hastings, the ocean and the mountain ranges. Our ceremonial, kinship and marriage ties would take us further into the northern and southern bordering language groups.

    The Gringai, Worimai and Biripai are language dialects of the traditional custodians. Thankfully our language is well recorded with over 6,000 words and importantly voice recordings over an extended time. From the early 1800’s to the 1970’s various recordings were taken from Port Stephens, Gresford, Taree, Port Macquarie, the upper Manning and the Barrington’s. Allowing us to re-awaken our traditional dialects and speak the language of our old people.

    Our stories lines connect us to the four corners of our language group, tying us to our surrounding nations, the country and sea. We have been fortunate to have our traditional stories passed down through the generations, in turn we are now privileged in maintaining our connection and most importantly we keep our old people alive by doing so.

    The respect and gratitude to all of our old people who have gone before us is of the utmost importance to us. For if it wasn’t for all those people playing their role’s, we wouldn’t be in the position we are in today. Being able to continue all of their amazing stories.

    We are the only, Cooringay, Guringai, Gooreeggai, Goreenggai, Gourenggai, Gingai, Gooreenggai, Gringai, Corringorri, Guringay and Goringai People.

  3. The central coast is not Kuring-gai tribe ,language , nation or sub clan. The word Kuringa-gai Kuringal is simply recorded as a place name recored from King Bungaree Son Longdick. the word also has other meanings in different tribes none reference a tribe or language name , read the story link below. Also the Guringai are well recorded 1820s North of the Hunter River from many referances and different locactions North of the Hunter River NSW.


  4. The aboriginal word Kuring-gai is not a language, tribe, nation or sub clan. it is simply a place name. Taken from the son of Bungaree named Longdick-

    J. F. Mann Aboriginal names and words of the Cammeray Tribe, [between 1884-1907] – Page 1 | Transcription Tool (nsw.gov.au)

    “Gai Galie Galla or alla refer to pleasant camping places as “Kuringagai” pleasant camping place for koories.

    Aboriginal Names by J.F. Mann 1
    Australian Aborigines – A few notes on their language etc.

    Information obtained from Long Dick an influential native of the “Cammeray tribe” a son of Bungaree and Queen Gooseberry.
    Now that England has enjoyed for more than a hundred years her possessory title to Australia inquiries are being made by certain scientists and others, as to their habits and language In my journeys through this country I have remarked that the languages used by the aborigines differed in the several localities in a manner somewhat similar to that prevailing in the various counties of England: Also that place names were given in accordance with the natural formation or product of the locality; whether the items which originated the name were geological animal or vegetable.
    Some few words were in common use throughout this territory and extended into Queensland. For instance ‘Budgery’ – good, satisfactory, pretty. “Bell or Bail” a negative – “Murrum or Murry” plenty, many, great, large etc. “Bong Bong” out of sight and others. The word “Budgery” in connection with “Gar” gives a name for the beautiful miniature parakeet now so frequently seen in cages. Gar Gai Galie Galla or alla refer to pleasant camping places as “Kuringa Gai”-“Bong Bong” is suitably applied to the locality, as the River Wingeecarribee here loses itself in a swamp.
    During the 1820s Threlkeld gathered some language from Broken Bay Aborigines, identified as ‘Karree’.10 That is now recognised as representing the Cari’gal, Kari’gal or -Gari’gal group of the south Arms of Broken Bay (Pitt Water and Cowan Water).

    Then Arthur Capell in 1970 identified the language to ‘more conveniently be called Kuringgai and is the name applied use by descendants of the Broken Bay Aborigines” from 1970” to the present day.

    In 1970, A.Capell made the following comment: —Karee, or Kuringgai, is the language of the Pittwater people, and included the well-known Cammeraygal on the extreme south, along the northern shores of Port Jackson, and stretched as far north at least as Broken Bay. (1970:24).Capell gives no other justification for calling this dialect ‘Kuringgai’ than the fact that it was ‘convenient. The name Kuring-gai appears invented / applied by John Fraser 1890s, using morphemes from the Sydney language. The name was applied by A.Capell 1970,its original use, as the name of a super-language of the central NSW coastal belt, makes it ambiguous.

    A.Capell’s 1970 paper was not complete, he called it ‘this initial report’ and wrote about ‘the monograph that is intended to follow’. He had retired from the Sydney University in 1967, and was his last work on Aboriginal languages.A.Capell did not spell it Guringai

    Also the AIATIS map by Horton 1994 which shows the general locations of larger groups of people. On the back of the map it said, “NOT TO BE USED FOR NATIVE TITLE OR LAND CLAIMS and is only the opinion of the author and have used what information was available at the time, the boundaries are not accurate.

    Written by JOHN FRASER 1890 totally contradicts his later work 1892 -93 and is proof of where he got the idea from that the kuring-gai were one super tribe and “&c , of Mr Oliver’s letter”. , John Fraser said in 1892 “ “I assured myself” that the country thereabout was occupied by subtribes of the Kurring-gai.”

    Sydney Morning Herald (NSW: 1842 – 1954), Thursday 12 June 1890, page 4
    Sir, —When the municipalities of the North Shore combine and adopt the native name of their district, as Mr Oliver very fitly suggests, it is to be hoped that the spelling of the name will receive attention. For, although Cammeray is not a monstrosity like Woolloomooloo or Woollahra, yet the spelling of it might be improved. The C should give place to K, for C in English is a redundant letter, representing the sound either of K or of S, and should not be used here in our native words. The termination “eray” might, I think be written “arai,” for “ara” and “arai” are established forms in the aboriginal languages. The whole name would thus be Kamarai, which, certainly, is prettier and easier to pronounce than St Leonards. But as our blacks make the “a” and the”o” sounds to be nearly alike, the name might also be written Komaroi; to this we have a parallel in the name Kamilaroi. Mr Oliver is right as to the location of the Kamilaroi tribe. Many years ago I had the privilege of long and interesting conversations about that tribe with a gentleman who had been one of the pioneer settlers in their district 50 years ago. He could speak their language “like a native,” was called by them Charley Murruba, ” Charles the Good,” was never molested even in those days by any men of the tribe, and his property was always safe in their hands. He had often travailed the main road from Maitland to the Lower Namoi, and know the country well. The limits of the Kamilaroi dialect, he said, were then the River Gwydir on the north, on the west an irregular line drawn from Walgett, southwards through Coonabarabran and round to Scone on the Hunter, and thence east and north along the Dividing Range to the sources of the Gwydir. Beyond the Gwydir was the Ualaroi dialect, akin to the Kamilaroi, but yet considerably different from it; to the west the Wirrajery, or Wirradhuri, quite different and to the south and east the Goringai, also different from the Kamilaroi.
    I know that the Goringai tribe occupied the whole of the east coast from the Hastings and the Manning down to the Hunter, and had several subdivisions named from particular localities in their territory.
    These subdivisions correspond with the Cammeray, Cadi, Gwea, “&c, of Mr Oliver’s letter”, which were only local portions of one great tribe stretching along the coast from the Hunter, “probably” as far south as the Illawarra district. (LOL😉)
    The language of this tribe was distinct from the Kamilaroi, although, like all the Australian dialects, they had many words in common and the same root-word used in different forms or with different applications. For instance, one would say murra (hand), another would apply the word to the whole of the lower arm, including the hand; so also, mir or mil, the eye; mir, the face. The Kamilaroi says kara-ji for wizard, doctor, medicine man, but the Goringai says kara-kal. Of course, variations like these are common in all languages.
    The kal, of kara-kal, leads me on to say that cadi-gal is neither the name of a language nor of a tribe the gal or kal in this and similar names is merely a suffix equivalent to “belonging to” or ” they of,” just as we say a Sydneyite, a Londoner, an Aberdonian, an Englishman, in the local aboriginal dialect, would be called England-kal, and an Englishwoman England-kalin. Those who imagine that our aboriginal languages are only rude gibberish, are vastly mistaken. These languages or dialects are one of the unsolved problems of ethnology, but enough is known of them to prove that they have well defined principles of formation and of grammar which cannot have been the invention of mere savages.
    I am, JOHN FRASER.

    Mr Oliver’s letter did not give this “one great tribe” a name in his letter. It would seem this is how John Fraser “assured himself” it was kuringgai now claimed Guringai country.

    In John Fraser’s work 1882- 83
    “I assured myself” that the country thereabout was occupied by sub-tribes of the Kuringgai Fraser 1892 Fraser came up with the name Kuringgai to describe a people, our peoples.”
    John Fraser reported on Gringai 1882 and 1892, he noted the Gringai/Goringai, with the latter possibly being a language and the former a group, had country in the area of the Paterson and Chichester/Williams Rivers.

    John Fraser published what he said “Re-arranged, condensed, and edited” version of Edward Threlkeld’s essay” on the Aboriginal language spoken around Lake Macquarie. Ten years prior to this, Fraser had announced that: “The tribes with which I am acquainted are chiefly those of the northern half of our territory, the Gringai, the Kamilaroi, and the Ooalaroi, and to these I add a slight knowledge of the Wiradjery and Yuin tribes (1882:199-200).

  5. It should be noted that Bungaree a Sydney man who White people hold to the highest esteem mainly because he led the British Army against his own kind with raids on Aboriginal camps he wore a British Army Uniform insued by the British Army he was labelled a King for the nortrossities committed against Aboriginal people for the rape , pillage and Murder, Bugarees son Long Dick was speared to death by local Aboriginal people in Wyong because they coundnt get to Bunagree.Let the Truth be heard here and its unbelievable that here on the Central Coast we have Europeans trying to tell us Aboriginal people of our own Aboriginal History what a joke

  6. FINDINGS G.E. Ford Darkinjung Brief 2012 Chapter 9/NE Page 65-66
    C:\Documents and Settings\Geoff\My Documents\The Thesis,WPDocDrafts\-8-FINAL THESIS COPY FOR DEPOSIT\Darkinung Brief.wpd (usyd.edu.au)
    “Although Threlkeld himself did not provide an identification term, the recognition of these people for the English was provided as Wannerawa aka Wannungine, apparently to indicate ‘of the Place’ – as a response to queries to the people about who they were. [In English convention, this identification becomes the term which is used for People, used for Language and used for Country.] In the meantime, a literary man, John Fraser, took it upon himself to create a name for these indigenes (who, he wrote) ‘are gone long ago’, naming them after a cove in Lake Macquarie known to the settlers as Awa-ba the success of his 1892 book meant that Fraser’s artifice has been used ever since for northern Wannungine near the Hunter River. The farther Wannerawa had since adopted another “term proposed” for near Broken Bay as ‘Guringai’ by Arthur Capell in a “preliminary 1970 article.” ‘Guringai’ had been used by Fraser in 1892 as ‘Kuringgai’ to designate people who used the common noun kuri for man, which he appeared to have taken from the term Gringai / Gooringai used by the settlers to identify a local group of` Kattung Language people across the Hunter River at the Paterson / Allyn River tributary. ( Oh how did i not see this section!)

  7. Disgusted community member | May 8, 2021 at 7:53 am |

    SHAME SHAME SHAME- Guringai group frauding the community for years

    Darkinjung is a tribal group of the central coast, not just the land council, there is a documented language (and a published book on their language) and living people who claim and have been proven in court to be descendants of this tribe. Yet everyone ignores the facts and blindly follows the people who are the loudest.

    This group has lied to the community for years, claiming they are Guringai traditional owners when their claims were all a lie. They maybe descendants if bungee but he was born in broken bay south of Woy Woy not the entire central coast. He also moved to Sydney early on and his family joined him, prob why they don’t know the name of the tribe, but that just proves they have no cultural customs passed down. This groups wasn’t around before the early 2000s which suggest someone created them. It’s sad they lost connection but that doesn’t give them the right to make up tribe names, Languages and customs. The fact that they have profited for decades stating that are traditional owners and this is now becoming more Likely false, is fraud. If their claims were not proven without a doubt to be true they shouldn’t of charged for services as a traditional owner! How don’t they have any moral ethics, to be able to lie for so long, with no remorse?! Wow

    A group that for decades states their Guringai then without hesitation throws that name away and comes up with another name is so dodgy. Also looking one fb I can see they have been working hard to delete the name Guringai off all posts by organisations that used their services.

    Traditional culture can’t be created or changed now, if you don’t have info from 300 years of generational knowledge sharing from your family then be honest about that, what you have read in books or from other mob should not be passed off as your own tribal traditions. You can still be a active Aboriginal member, without lying about your cultural authority. A group that has always been openly against all other Aboriginal groups in the area and would side with gubbas instead of their own people speaks volumes!

    Stop lying to the community and be honest about your background and family knowledge!! Your actions for your own personal gain are holding our people back, how can you turn your back on your own race!!

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