Information Pages

Dharug History

See:

Roots of our identity
Dharug History
Gumberri
Were
The old ones
Blackstown and Windsor
Clan words
Webb
Lieutenant Dawes
Gumberri nura
Colebee
Bennelong
Darug

Roots of our identity

Didjurigura wugul banne bembulra Biiami Dharamullen

You will discover the meaning for the above quote as you venture into the spoken word list, Gai budyari-wa.

Gumberri was the father of Yarramundie and a senior lore man of the Darugule iyura. There are numerous surviving decendants of the Boorooberungle living today throughout the western ranges of Sydney, from as far north of the Blue Mountains into the deep south of Woollongong and further along the coastal lands. Thousands of Goori people can trace their ancestory to the same line as Gumberri (Goomberry). Black Kitty was a Gubragal Iyura and also attended the Native Institute at Parramatta.  Her descendants can be located between present day Liverpool, Bankstown, Parramatta and as far west as Blacktown, Penrith and into the Blue Mountains.

Mudjin wungal  (Related clans)  Every Iyura-eora that ever walked our Ngurrah (country of each clan) paid respects to his nieghbour and nearest nations.  To enter another clans Nura beranga (Country of belonging) clans would have sent a message about the time (season) and instructions as to the purpose of Yanma-muru-wa.  

It has also been recorded that the Darug occupied 1800 square kilometres of land extending along the coast from the Hawkesbury River in the north to the Georges River in the south and inland to the present towns of Campbelltown and Camden. The traditional owners of Redfern were the Gadigal (also spelled as Kadigal or Cadigal) people. They lived in Redfern and surrounding areas for more than 40,000 years before European invasion. Material excavated from the Alexandra Canal in the 1960''s and middens along the Cooks River are evidence of their occupation in the area. The Gadigal people spoke the coastal Iyura dalang, and are often referred to as the Eora people.

It must also be cited that tool remains, petrofied fish hooks and scales of fish, have been found in the remote Northern Territory and carbon dated to around 850,000 years old, just as significant, concerning the accounts of the original ''Ourstory'', are the facts that Lake Mungo has revealed skeletal remains dating as far back as 350,000 years

Other clans of the Sydney region, occupying different parts of the nura, included the Wanegal, the Kamergal, the Karegal, and the Bidjigal (Bediagal). There were two major groups to the north and south of the Nura beranga (country were we belong) the freshwater clans of the Dhurrawal, Tharawal and Darugule or the Daruggal.

In 1788 the British landed on the shores of Kamay, now called Botany Bay, on the Nura of the Dharawal Iyura. The Gadigal, Bidjiagal and Wungul clans of the Darug Nation inhabited the district surrounding that bay and the great harbour of Tuhbowgule [Sydney Harbour] - around which the city of Sydney is now built. At that time the local clans extended from South Head to Botany Bay out to Petersham taking in the suburbs now known as Redfern, Erskineville, Surry Hills, Darlinghurst and Paddington.

Darugule, Dharawal, Darkinjung, Gurringgai.

Kurrijong, kurrajung, Currajong, Kurrayung and Gurrijung.

Kurrajong: (Patriach) 

The relationship of the interpretation to the Kurrajong clan is associated with the word for being happy, if you by chance you have the pleasure to visit the western area of Kurrajong one will very readily comprehend the reasoning beind the word.  Situated along the Hawkesbury, Durrubbin river system the Kurrajong were considered masters of stonemasonary.   

Cattai, Gattai, Kaddai, Gattai: (Matriach)  Boorooberongal: (Matriach-Lorewoman)

Bidjigal: (Patriach - (Pemulwuy''s clan - Bembul = earth Wagan = crow)

Toogagal: (Patriach) Gomerrigal: (Patriach) Gannemegal: (Patriach) Mulgoa: (Patriach) 

Bool-bain-ora: (Matriach-Lorewoman)  Muringong: (Matriach)

Gabrogal: (Patriach)

Garigal: Gannalgal: Borogegal: Gayimai: Terramerragal: Gammeraigal: Goruagal:

Birrabirragal: Gadigal: Wallumattagal: (Patriach - Rainmakers) Wangal: (Guyanayuyalung) Muru-ora-dial: Gameygal: Bediagal: Gweagal: Dagary: Norongerragal:

Roots of our language

The clans of the Gubragal (Gobragal) around present day Liverpool were the people of the black duck ''Yurangai'' and black swan Mulgu, taking their names from the voices and songs of both birds.  For example, when the Mulgu was heard to swallow water they would release the sound Badu so it was that our name for water became Badu. A similar sound could be heard to issue forth when the Mulgu swallowed their food the sound Bada will be heard to resonate giving families of the Darugule/Dharawal/Yuin Kurik people of the land the name used for eating Bada.

Dharug which can also be spelt Dharukk, Dharoog, Dharrag, Dararrug including numerous other interpretations, came from the word for yam Midyini. Dharug is the root or the Midyini and of the languages of the Sydney basin. Burramattagal is where many of the sydney clans met during the afternoon Gumedah to share their catch. Numerous Darugule clans shared this territory during the invasion of (1770 B.P)

We are grateful to non-indigenous linguists. Nevertheless the original peoples of Australia have included years of their own research around the campfire to verify that these names for clans were a misconception and assigned by the academia of the period. The Darugule Iyura in particular are forever grateful to Sir William Dawes of the first fleet and flagship the Sirius for having the grace and intelligence of humanity to record the original traditional dalang (tongue) of the elder people of Sydney Darugule-wayun.  He was excommunicated back to England as he was "fraternising with the enemy", an enemy that was for years after defined as flora and fauna.

It is widely known that the languages of the Sydney Iyura (Eora) were forbidden to be spoken by the traditional speakers of the clans. What is interesting to acknowledge is the ongoing myth that the languages have never been spoken since their demise (see Wikipedia: Sydney Languages).  In fact there has been a numerous core group of descendants whom have kept the tongue alive during occupation. 

If we learn from the lessons of the past we realise that this has happened often during occupation, as the Greek language suffered four hundred years of denial of continuity and any form of traditional cultural practices, and they were forbidden any form of communication and suppressed beneath the yoke of the invading Ottaman Empire.  It would take years before they were allowed to speak in their own tongues.  Similar persecution and denial of languages in Central America, some Mayan tribes still communicate in a dialect containing thirteen letters or sounds of their particular alphabet. 

If we consider the facts surrounding the Original languages of the Nations First Peoples of our continent we must admit that it has only been a mere two generations, that we had suffered the loss of the public use of our tongues, Dalang-bu.

Language Now

During the 1990''s and the new millennium some descendants of the Darug clans in Western Sydney have been making considerable efforts to revive Dharug as a spoken language. Today some modern Darug speakers have given speeches in the Darug language and younger members of the community visit schools and give demonstrations of spoken Dharug. At St Mary''s Chifley College Dunheved Campus the Dharug Byalla language have created the days of the week in Dharug, including the months of the year relating to the seasons of the continent. 

Listen to: The History of the Darug People as we know it by placing your mouse over the words

My given name is (Richard John GREEN) my skin name is Nambrimbrii which means "let the rivers run let all people be one colour"  I was born in Katoomba Memorial Hospital during the cold winter Duggara of April 1963. 

My younger brother Babana is Walter William GREEN born 3rd December 1964 and younger Sister Durumin is Toni Michelle GREEN born May 1968. We are related to numerous Darugule Mudjin and we are six generations removed from the Boorooberongal clan of Gumberri.

Praise to the scribes of the Underground.  

In more recent times we would like to acknowledge the invaluable work compiled by Uncle Ken Upton, Aunty Edna Watson, Uncle Wes Marne, Gumang Kenny Webb, Gumang Greg Simms, (Biyanga-Wyall). Wurrai Mavis Workman, Gumangra Colin Locke, Jack Tangye, Colin Gale.  Also Aunty Joan Cooper for her love and guidance. We acknowledge Stuart Marshall, and Sydney Linguist Amanda Oppliger for helping me understand the written format of our ancient languages and having the grace to understand that there are certain phrases in Dharug Dalang that must not be spoken to certain members of society regardless of age or gender. A big thank you (didjurigura) to Jackie Troy for her major contribution the Sydney Language (Troy, Jakelin, 1994,The Sydney Language. Canberra: Panther. ISBN 0 646 110152). Also the many and valuable contributions to the survival of language by the numerous surviving members of the families of Sydney.




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