Bundjalung Nation

Aboriginal flag
Aboriginal flag (Photo credit: UNE Photos)
To the best of knowledge the Bundjalung Nation Aboriginal people from the East Coast of Australia, the Far North Coast of New South Wales and South East Queensland area, are the only ones whose dream time stories talk about arriving in Australia from elsewhere. They came from the land "at the centre of the world" when a massive catastrophe destroyed it. They are the First Light Peoples.

IMG 4316 The Aboriginal Flag
IMG 4316 The Aboriginal Flag (Photo credit: Images @ Melonpopzdropz)


The Bundjalung people are a large Aboriginal nation, a federation of a number of groups of clans which occupy the land from Grafton on the Clarence river of northern New South Wales north to the town of Ipswich and the Beaudesert, and west of there to Warwick (Geyen)  in southern Queensland, and down around the other side of the Great Dividing Range through Tabulam (Jubulum) and back to Grafton.

In the north, Bundjalung Nation shares a border with Yuggera Nation and Barrunggam Nation; to the east the Tasman Sea (Pacific Ocean); to the south  Gumbaynggirr Nation; and to the west it borders Ngarabal Nation.

In pre-colonial times, Bundjalung Nation encompassed some of the richest hunting and fishing grounds anywhere on the Australian continent. According to the oral traditions of the Bundjalung People, these areas were first settled by the Three Brothers and their descendants.

The names of the 15 tribal groups comprising the Bundjalung Nation are Aragwal, Banbai, Birbai, Galiabal, Gidabal, Gumbainggeri, Jigara, Jugambal, Jugumbir, Jungai, Minjungbal, Ngacu, Ngamba, Thungutti and Widjabal.  (No mention here of the Geyen Peoples near Warwick)??

English: The Rainbow Train in Heritage Park, L...
English: The Rainbow Train in Heritage Park, Lismore, Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 Bundjalung Nation Aboriginal people have lived on and visited the place known as Goanna Headland for at least 12,000 years. The Aboriginal tribes were not united anytime before the 18th century, with more than 20 main groups, known collectively as the 'Bundjalung Nation'. Certain deities and religious practices were specific to certain localities.

(Goanna Headland at sunset taken by me at Evan...
(Goanna Headland at sunset taken by me at Evans Head in December 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Goanna Headland is also significant as the site where the ancestors of the Bundjalung people arrived by sea and populated the surrounding country.

This event is related through the legend of "The Three Brothers (Bundjalung Nation)

The resource rich areas such as the estuaries, river valleys and coast are considered a significant influence to Aboriginal settlement of the area. Coastal land, estuaries and marine resources were and still are of major economic, spiritual and cultural importance to Aboriginal communities. (RACAC 1996)
Indigenous nation boundaries appear to have been based on the natural geographic phenomena of mountains, rivers and creeks. The territory of the Bundjalung Nation which encompasses the Upper Clarence, extends from the eastern Richmond Range to the south; the north bank of the Clarence River to the south-east; the south bank of the Logan River to the north and the foothills of the Great Dividing Range to the west (Olley, 1995).
Within the boundaries of the Bundjalung Nation lived approximately thirteen major dialect groups, each with its own well defined territory, language and laws of living. Heron (1996) provides a description of the relationships between the clans of the Bundjalung people, the land and their language in terms of mythical origins of the Bundjalung tribes.

Photo taken in 2005 of Main Beach Evans Head f...
Photo taken in 2005 of Main Beach Evans Head from Razorback Lookout on Goanna Headland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Bundjalung clans identify themselves by dialect, and ... each dialect is identified by and belongs to a specific piece of land. Thus, it is a reasonable conclusion that the people belong to that land and have both rights and obligations to the land.

Aboriginal kinship and family structures are still cohesive forces which bind Aboriginal people together in all parts of the North Coast. Inter-nation relationships develop through contact as a result of some temporary increase in food or water supplies. For example the Bundjalung clans-people were among some of the large groups of people that would gather to share in the feast of Bunya Pine nuts, which these trees produced every three years in the Blackbutt Range, north west of Brisbane.

Seasonal movements also occurred as sea and land foods came into season. The people of the Upper Clarence moved to the beach for salmon and mullet every September. At Evans Head there is a Kurrajong tree planted at a marriage site by the Aboriginal visitors from the Upper Clarence. The rich food resources, both animal and vegetable, provided by the area, allowed the Bundjalung people to be able to live a more settled life than many other groups.

Various sources refer to the Aboriginal pathways utilising a series of interconnecting ranges, which pass between Lismore, Whian Whian State Forest, Nightcap National Park and the Tweed River Valley. Heron (1996) in describing these pathways identifies the ridgelines as being the most frequented routes.

Dreamtime Stories

Australian Aborigines' outlook on the universe and man is shaped by a remarkable conception known as Dreaming. A central meaning of The Dreaming is that of a sacred, heroic time long ago when man and nature came to be as they are; but neither 'time' nor 'history' as we understand them is involved in this meaning.

An Aboriginal man may call his totem, or the place from which his spirit came, his Dreaming. He may also explain the existence of a custom, or law of life, as causally due to the Dreaming, indicating the Dreaming is a complex of meanings. (Stanner, 1979)

The Dreaming is many things in one. Among them, a kind of narrative of things that once happened; a kind of charter of things that still happen; and a kind of logos or principle of order transcending everything significant for Aboriginal man (Stanner, 1979). As the subject of many Dreamtime stories involve the creation of natural landforms by ancestral beings, these landforms which remain today are considered culturally significant to Indigenous communities.
The following is an account of some local Dreamtime stories.
There are various references by different Aboriginal communities to the legend of the Three Brothers who were the ancestors of the Aboriginal people who came across the sea and landed on the east coast (Heron, 1993; McBryde, 1974; & Gonda, 1983).
In the Bundjalung region there is a strong tradition that the brothers made their first landing by canoe at Yamba.

The grandmother of the three brothers went into the bush to gather wild yams; she could not be found when the brothers prepared to sail northward, and was therefore left behind.

She arrived back at the beach and found that they had gone and cursed them for leaving her behind. At the next landing at Evans Head, one of the brothers was sent back to find her, then together, they returned to Evans Head to the rest of the family.

As the family grew, discontentment set in. The brothers decided to move to different areas and take their families with them. One brother stayed at Evans Head, the second brother moved further north, whilst the third brother moved inland. (Heron, pers. comm. 15/2/1999).
Within the Lower Richmond region area the legend states that the three brothers made their first landing near Evans Head, and after two subsequent landings further north, two of the brothers occupied the coast, while the third brother moved inland and occupied the Lismore district. (Steele, 1984)

The headland at Evans Head is a djurebil (sacred place) inhabited by a Goanna spirit whose function was to bring rain. The shape of the headland is said to resemble a Goanna, with its tail extending south past Chinamans Beach, but the spirit is believed to live in a cave. (Steele, 1984)

The arrangement of the landscape is understood in Aboriginal terms as the actions of ancestral beings in the Creation era:

Animals both shaped and made possible traditional life. Most commonly thought of as food, they were this and a lot more to traditional people.

The relationship with animals started with the Dreamtime and helped shape the land. At the centre of the Bundjalung beliefs is the battle between the Goanna and the Snake. They formed the Evans River as they fought, and the Headland was formed by them (Heron, 1996).

Another Dreamtime story explains the significance of Nimbin Rocks and how its name was derived. The following account is taken from Nayutah & Finlay (1988, p8):

The name Nimbin, is probably derived from the little spirit man, Nyimbunji. The rocks are associated with this little man who has great supernatural powers.
The Nyimbunji from this area was a very strong and powerful man who ruled the land for miles around. He had more power than other men in the whole area. When the people wanted more food or rain or any other substance which they lacked, they would go to the Nyimbunji. He was not only powerful but also generous, wise and kind.
He would visit the tribal areas to make sure everyone was all right and to see that they were following the rules and laws.

The name Ballina is derived from the Aboriginal term bullen-bullen, meaning tournament, of which many are believed to have been held there and are often referred to in Aboriginal mythology.

Various legends tell of a balugan, or hero, leaving home to travel to the coast intending to try his fighting prowess at a tournament (Steele, 1984).
Another legend associated with the Three Brothers states that the beautiful daughters of the brother who moved inland came over the mountains to Ballina to visit their kinsmen once a year. The daughters are said to be hidden in the dust storms that blow for two or three days in September (Steele, 1984)
A Dreamtime story surrounds a small island near Cabbage Tree Island.

It is said that this island was a djurebil inhabited by a spirit who caused women to have babies. A woman desiring a baby would camp under a cabbage-tree palm; if she wanted twins or triplets she would camp under a palm that had two or three heads (Steele, 1984).
Opposite Wyrallah is Amphlett's Lagoon, the abode of an evil spirit (darangen); the people feared to go near it at night.
At a distance of six kilometres north-west of Amphlett's Lagoon is a pine capped hill called Parrot's Nest, but known to the Aboriginal as Goorambil, meaning pine tree. On its summit there was a stone arrangement, the djurebil of the hoop pine, which was owned by the Wyrallah clan. A particular pine tree on this site was used for sorcery; a leaf plucked from the tree would be pointed at an enemy, which would cause blood to run out of the enemy's mouth.
In former times the owner of the djurebil used to go to the top of Parrot's Nest once a year to maintain the stone arrangement and perform dances or incantations. Since this is no longer done, some people believe that the evil spirits are out of control and will harm anybody who approaches (Steele, 1984).
Lismore was also an important centre with a number of legendary associations.
A sacred spring at Lismore features in a legend concerning a gaungan (heroine) and a balugan (hero) who fell in love, even though they had been promised in marriage to others; they ran away, and were pursued by the heroine's father with his hunting dogs.

To gain speed the father changed himself into a kangaroo, which was his "other self” in the Dreamtime. His giant leaps caused springs to arise wherever he landed, one at North Lismore, another at St Vincent’s Hospital and a third at Wilson Park where he caught the couple and forgave them (Steele, 1984).
The spring at Wilson Park became a djurebil and it was forbidden to touch the water that flowed from it.
Other djurebil in the Lismore area include a spring at North Lismore, which was a djurebil for the echidna (Bunninj).
Another was a possum djurebil, referred to in a legend by Lyle Roberts, a member of the Wyrallah clan.
This djurebil was a tree containing many possums and it was owned by a young man. His uncle stole the tree and carried it away, but one of the possums escaped and told the young man. The young man retaliated by drowning his uncle in the river (Steele, 1984).
A wind legend is connected with a djurebil near Roseberry.

The legend tells of a man following a very big bandicoot, which ran into a hole. The man followed the bandicoot into the hole and travelled along underground until he came to the place where the big wind is shut up under the earth.
The wind djurebil is at a place called Bululgun, where there is a stone covering a hole. It is said that if the stone is lifted a cyclone will ensue (Steele, 1984).
A lagoon in the township of Woodenbong is associated with a djurebil for guruman (kangaroo). Although several versions exist for this legend, they all agree that a balugan (hero) lived at The Glen, where the Mount Lindsay Highway crosses the state border.

His aunt insisted on holding the kangaroo net during a hunt, but a big kangaroo hopped away dragging the net and the aunt with him. Wherever the kangaroo rested, a swamp or lagoon formed, until he finally landed near the sawmill in Woodenbong, at the lagoon known as "Bainmabal". The kangaroo and the aunt became spirits living in the lagoon, and the aunt is now a derangan (ogress) (Steele, 1984).
The djurebil for nguram (sleep) is near Mount Lindesay, and has to do with sorcery, as the various meanings of the word nguram suggest.

The legend associated with this djurebil tells of a balugan who feasted on grubs from the pine tree, and then fell into a deep sleep from which he never awoke. At the site are stones representing the balugan and the grubs, and five other stones standing upright in a row.
To cast a spell, the sorcerer would strike the ground beside the standing stones with a sheet of ti-tree bark to partially awaken the balugan. He would then tell the balugan how much sleep to inflict on his enemies. Ti-tree bark was used for making blankets for sleeping, the word for Ti-tree was jalgumbun, derived from jali (tree) and ngumban (blanket); thus the Ti-tree was a "blanket-tree".

Jalgumbun was also the name of Mount Lindesay (Steele, 1984).
There is a legend which explains how Ti-trees came to grow on the ranges of this district.
Another legend explains the steps on the side of Mount Lindesay and also hints as to why this mountain was called Jalgumbun. The mountain was once a tree on which a man climbed with a vine to get honey, cutting foot-holes with his stone axe. During the night the tree grew into a mountain and the foot-holes can still be seen on its side (Steele, 1984).
A legend surrounds the rock now known as Glennie's Chair near Mount Lindesay.

A young boy and his grandmother were travelling to the seaside from the flat lands of the west; as they passed Mount Lindesay the boy kept stopping at Grass-trees to collect gum which he chewed.
The Border Ranges were infested with nimbun (ogres) and derangan (ogresses) who objected to strangers taking liberties with the rocks and plants on the mountains. A nimbun on Mount Lindesay, who lived deep inside the mountain, speared the boy and turned him into a rock (Glennie's Chair) (Steele, 1984).
Nooloigah was a great warrior and hunter in the budjeram (dreamtime), and the Nooloigah myth cycle is centred on the Old Bonalbo area. Several fragments of the legends have been published, and their main topographical interest may be summarised as follows (Steele, 1984):
  • Nooloigah owned Haystack Mountain which was also known as Nooloigah.
  • He established a bora ring ground on top of the mountain; 
  • this was "One of the last initiation grounds to be used by the Bandjalang People".
  • His body and his head became two rocks on the eastern side of the mountain.
Post Contact

In 1770, Captain James Cook sailed past the coast and named the most prominent coastal features that he saw. These are Cape Byron, Mount Warning and Point Danger; however the Aborigines had already named many areas and landscape features long before European arrival eg. Mount Warning was known as Wollumbin, which means 'cloud catcher' (RACAC, 1996.

Official portrait of Captain James Cook
Official portrait of Captain James Cook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Marginal recognition of the importance of Aboriginal cultural sites came in 1836, when Thomas Shepherd in campaigning for conservation, advocated the retention of indigenous trees upon large estates for aesthetic reasons (Turner, 1966).  However other significant sites remained
unprotected, many of which were destroyed or degraded as a result of cattle grazing and cedar getting activities which began in the 1840's.

The cedar getter's harvested easily accessible trees along the river first, then ventured into the Big Scrub.  Bundjalung people and Aboriginals from other nations regularly used both these areas when travelling to inter-nation gatherings. As a result, the Big Scrub contained many culturally significant sites, which were destroyed.


The Land Act of 1861 regulated the sale or leasing of crown lands in NSW. This resulted in hunting grounds and places of cultural, spiritual, and ritual significance being fenced off and destroyed by farming practices (Oakes, 1979). Local Aborigines soon became 'bewildered trespassers on their hereditary lands (Oakes, 1979).

In the late 1950's the government made steps to abandon the policy of segregation and the Board made moves to integrate Aboriginals with non-Aboriginals.
In 1974 local Bundjalung people held a conference at Evans Head and passed two motions unanimously. The first motion was the decision to approach the government and seek funding to engage a linguist to record the Bundjalung language and the second was to seek funding to employ an anthropologist to gather details of their culture. The aim of both motions was to record and keep alive the local Aboriginal culture and their language for the younger generations (Oakes, 1979).
In today's society contemporary Aboriginal people may not be as steeped in cultural rites and cultural obligation as they once were. This is due to the disturbance of Aboriginal life by the invasion of Europeans. The sites that survive this disturbance are very important to Aboriginal people as links to their heritage, culture and dreaming, and in providing a sense of identity and belonging (Heron, unpublished).

Aboriginal Sites
- Introduction

Aboriginals have lived in the area for at least 45,000 + years. Many traces of their occupation remain as Aboriginal Sites. An Aboriginal site is any place, which has the remains of prehistoric occupation, or is of contemporary significance to the Aboriginal community.

Although many Aboriginal sites have been lost over time as a result of European settlement and natural environmental factors (eg. weathering of rock art), the Upper Clarence is rich in existing Aboriginal sites, which are of great cultural value and importance to Aboriginal peoples.

Aboriginal sites range from large shell middens, which represent campsites, usually associated with lakes and rivers, to natural landforms that were created by Dreamtime ancestors or are associated with them.

Aboriginal sites are found in towns, on beaches, along riverbanks and tracks, on open plains and in dense forests. Different environments and different Aboriginal practices produce different types of sites.
Aboriginal rock paintings
Aboriginal rock paintings (Photo credit: Peter Nijenhuis)
 All land was and always will be significant to Aboriginal people. Land was never alienated to anyone in nation or clan, except for sacred places. All sites are considered significant to the Aboriginal people, because they are proof of occupancy by the traditional owners, and they are an inheritance to their descendants (Draper 1999).

In many instances these sites have been deliberately destroyed or desecrated through development. Those sites, which remain, require recognition and protection to preserve the Aboriginal Heritage of the region.

Site Profiles

In general, Aboriginal Communities identify the following as sites of significance (Gungil Jindibah Centre, 1996)

Art sites Increase sites
Axe grinding grooves Initiation grounds
Burial sites Middens/Open middens
Camp sites Natural fossil bed
Carved trees Natural mythological sites
Caves and overhangs and rock shelters Ovens/mounds
Contact sites eg. Massacres Quarry sites
Dreaming tracks: land and sky Scarred trees
Fertility sites Stone arrangements
Fish Traps Totem sites (including birth sites)
Fishing and hunting areas Water Holes, Waterfalls, Springs and Wells

Art Sites

Art sites depict sacred information as well as serving to indicate local species, tribal boundaries and are considered to be a form of written documentation. Art sites include engravings, paintings and drawings that are generally found on rock surfaces but may also be found as body art and ground art. All art sites are considered significant and in some circumstances sacred .

In northern New South Wales there are engravings in the soft sandstone outcrops of the Clarence River Valley. The motifs here are mainly tracks and lines ('tally marks'). There are very few figurative designs in this area.

Like paintings, rock engravings provide important information about Aboriginal material culture and social life. Many sites are regarded as being of sacred or ceremonial significance to Aboriginal people, and they should not be visited without the permission of the Aboriginal community.

Axe Grinding Grooves
Axe grinding groves are the physical remains of technology and as such are significant as an educational tool as well as indicators of Aboriginal occupation. The grooves are the result of grinding stone to make a ground edge axe or to grind ochre into a paste for art or body decoration. Grinding grooves are generally found around watercourses because water is necessary for the grinding process .
Burial Sites
Aboriginal ancestral remains represent a deep spiritual significance to today's Aboriginal people. Burial locations generally occur close to water. Grave goods are usually found at burial sites. These may include stone artifacts specifically axes, flint knives, seed grinders and specialized tools. Stone arrangements purposely arranged to form circles and elongated shapes called 'pathways' are also associated with burial sites.

Dunes associated with a prominent feature were often utilised as burial sites. The hollows of trees were also sometimes used. Burials have also been recorded on top of hills overlooking water or within sight of a prominent feature.

Aboriginal Burial Poles
Aboriginal Burial Poles (Photo credit: thievingjoker)
Carved Trees
All carved trees are considered sacred. Carved trees consist of geometric designs, which have been carved into the wood. Carved trees are associated with places of initiation, and may also represent the burial place of an important Elder or spiritual ancestor. The information carved into the tree is sacred and as such no further information on carved tree locations can be supplied.

Carved tees, like scarred trees, are one of the more visual examples of cultural relics. The size of a scarred tree cannot always be used as an indicator for determining its origin as Aboriginal. The variability of the Australian climate affects tree growth rates so that the circumference of a tree trunk may not always be indicative of age.

Camp Sites

Some campsites are significant because of their traditional and historic use. They provide evidence (including physical remains) of the places where Aboriginal ancestors lived for thousands of years prior to the European invasion. They are associated with spiritual beliefs and some are classified by their use. The sites are also culturally, historically and archaeologically significant.

Surviving relics commonly associated with Aboriginal camp sites include: cooking ovens, seed grinding dishes, middens and scatters of various stone artifacts derived from tool making. The physical boundaries of campsites can sometimes be extensive, reflecting the social organization of the camp.
Camp sites can be generally found along ridgeline's, rivers, creeks, coastal plains and open landscapes, however they are usually closely associated with water.

Caves and Overhangs and rock shelters
In rock outcrops overhangs may form cave type shelters. Ashes from fires, discarded tools, food remains, sediments and material fallen from the roof may accumulate in the shelter.

Many ancestral spirits live in caves and overhangs. Caves and overhangs have many uses including for sacred rituals, canvasses for artwork, burials, places of residence and storage. All caves should be considered significant unless otherwise indicated by the relevant custodians.

Contact sites

Massacre sites are an important part of Australian history. They represent the struggles and atrocities Aborigine’s had to endure. Missions and Reserves where Aboriginal people were held under Government Protection Policies are known as incarceration sites. Many missions and reserves are considered significant to present day communities as they have historical graveyards. Other missions and reserves have special significance as they represent the places where present day Aboriginal peoples' grandparents and great grandparents grew up.

Dreaming Tracks: Land & Sky

Dreaming tracks link sites across the land and sky to each other, and are significant in themselves. Dreaming tracks trace the movements of ancestors as they journeyed across the land and sky . Local examples include Jiggi's route, the route taken through the McPherson Range for trade and ceremonial purposes, and the track followed by the weeun from Nimbin to the coast.

Fertility sites

Aboriginal women would go to fertility sites to enhance their ability to become pregnant. Pregnant women also used fertility sites if they were suffering from any gynaecological problems that might inhibit the growth of their unborn child or if there were problems during childbirth. Special rituals
were performed at these sites by the women Elders to ensure fertility and healthy childbirth. Goat Island near Cabbage Tree Island is a fertility site.

Aboriginal men also had their own fertility sites, which are associated with men's initiation ceremonies. Fertility sites can comprise a body of water, specific vegetation types (e.g. cabbage tree palms, or stands of tree ferns) caves, particular rock formations and a variety of other places within the natural landscape.

Fish Traps

Fish traps are another representation of the technological use of the natural environment. They are considered important for educational purposes and a when oral history relates an association with an ancestor they are considered sacred. They are found mainly along the coast and in some inland areas associated with river beds.

Fishing and Hunting Areas

Many Aboriginal people still eat bush foods. Hunting and fishing areas need to be maintained for the continuing health of Aboriginal communities. Reports on accounts of food gathering opportunities available to local Aborigines indicate that the streams, rainforests and eucalyptus forests provide the main sources of food and raw materials.

Increase Sites

Increase sites (or Djurbihl) are associated with a particular plant or animal species, or climatic condition (eg. rain) At increase sites, ceremonies were performed to ensure an increase, or continuance of a particular species or climatic condition. They are linked to many totemic associations and are considered sacred as only initiated people can perform the rituals for increase. (Heron, unpublished)

Increase sites vary in degree of significance to Aboriginal people. Such variance is dependent on the context in which the site exists within that particular cultural landscape. However, to Aboriginal people, all sites are considered significant because they are proof of occupancy by the traditional owners and the inheritance to their descendants.

Ceremonial Grounds and Initiation Areas

Ceremonial Grounds are sites where initiation ceremonies, marriage alliance ceremonies, tribal meetings and other important social functions were held. They are places of great significance to Aboriginal people.

The Bora

Initiation areas are places where the rituals of making men and women occurred. Initiation areas include more than the visual or physical remains. An initiation area encompasses much more than the obvious raised earth mounds of the bora grounds.

The full extent of a bora ground encompasses the surrounding lands and water points. They also include the camps where young initiates prepared for rituals and ceremonies. Initiation areas can include bora grounds, caves overhangs, bodies of water, rock formations (both natural and modified), natural formations (hills, mountains, valleys) and surrounding land.
Western Kurrajong Tree used for Aboriginal Mar...
Western Kurrajong Tree used for Aboriginal Marriages at Bundjalung National Park NSW (Photo credit: Wikipedia
Middens are usually located along the coastline and within estuarine areas. Open middens may also be found further inland where groups returning from the coast have stopped to feast on pipis and oysters gathered earlier.

These vary in size depending upon the conditions of preservation and location. Middens are predominantly composed of edible shellfish species but may also contain animal and plant remains and charcoal from cooking fires. In addition, some middens contain human remains and as such are considered very significant places.

Aboriginal midden
Aboriginal midden
(Photo credit: Matthew  L Stevens)
Natural Fossil Beds
Natural fossil beds may be associated with dreaming tracks, occurring as a result of previous occupation or from natural processes, and as such are considered sacred. Natural fossil beds usually contain fossils that indicate previous occupation by Aboriginals. Fossils may include skeletal remains, plant material, etc.

Natural Mythological Sites
Natural mythological sites are the spiritual, visual and physical cultural landscape. Associated with this cultural landscape are the legends of Aboriginal ancestors, their lives, travels, laws and lore. These places are the foundation of Aboriginal cultural beliefs and religion. These sites can be seen in every part of the land, water and sky. They include headlands, bodies of water, mountains, rock formations, star formations, or as an assemblage of several natural formations.

These sites also show the technological use of the environment. Ovens show how Aboriginal people employed various cooking methods . Often the only remaining feature is a cluster of heat retainers (rocks, clay balls or broken up termite mounds), which are placed at the bottom of the cooking oven. This can indicate the depth of erosion that has occurred over time.

Cooking oven remains provide excellent opportunities for scientific dating with some thousands of years old.

Mounds occur as either small discrete raised earths to larger sized features. Their function is not entirely clear, but a number of activities have been associated with mounds, including the accumulation of oven and refuse pits, as well as burials and raised hut dwellings. Their distribution is generally associated with levee banks of prior streams and in branching stream areas of alluvial plains.

Quarry Sites
Quarry sites can either consist of stone, ochre or clay deposits used for the manufacture of tools, art material, ritual and ceremonial objects, medicine and other cultural material and are considered significant from an archaeological and anthropological perspective.

Scarred Trees
Scarred trees are formed when sheets of bark are removed using stone axes or a heavy rock with a sharp edge. Steel axes were sometimes used during European times and it is possible to distinguish between the two types of cutting tools used (Heron, unpublished). The sheets of bark were used to construct various tools including: shields, canoes and coolamans. Bark sheets were also used for hut construction.
The bark was never totally removed, allowing the bark to regrow. In time, the bark regrowth of the scar will completely close, leaving a 'surgical' scar. Less recognizable scarred trees are those which contain 'toe hold” scar's created when deep cuts are made up the tree to allow people to climb and gather food.   Scars found are still considered significant to Aboriginal people and require protection.

Stone Arrangements
All stone arrangements are considered sacred. They may be either natural formations or modified by humans. Stone arrangements are generally associated with sacred rituals as well as being boundary markers for tribal lands. They can be found in various forms such as cairns, circles or other geometric patterns. Many are linked with totemic associations and/or particular groups' Dreamings and ancestry.

Totem Sites
Totemic spiritual associations relate to every plant and animal within the surrounding natural environment. Every family has a totem, which connects them to their existence. Totem sites are sacred and should not be interfered with (only family groups have information about their particular totem site and information regarding these places would not be divulged unless the site was under the immediate threat of development). Birth sites are closely associated with totem sites. A person’s place of birth is connected with their dreaming and as such is considered significant.

Waterholes, Waterfalls, Springs and Wells
Waterholes, springs and wells have many uses and all are considered significant, as water is the essence of all life. Water is an important part of many rituals and some water holes are considered more sacred than others.

Laws Relating to Aboriginal Sites -The National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974
Aboriginal sites and relics are primarily cared for under the National Parks and Wildlife Act. This act provides statutory protection for all Aboriginal relics and for all Aboriginal places.

It is illegal to disturb, damage, deface or destroy a relic or Aboriginal Place. If you find a site you should report it to the Director NPWS and the Local Aboriginal Land Council.

Both Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALC's) and NPWS have Aboriginal sites officers that will inspect and assess proposed activities sites or areas. Contact them if you are aware of or think you have located an Aboriginal site.

Aboriginal sites in New South Wales are not the basis for a land-rights claim. NPWS and the Aboriginal community are interested in recording and preserving sites, not in interfering with the rights of landholders

English: Mt warning at sunset
English: Mt warning at sunset (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sites known or registered
There are a number of culturally significant sites on the North Coast and within the Upper Clarence. Information regarding sites, whether they are sacred or significant and the level of protection given can be obtained by contacting the LALC in your local area or NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services.

 Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Values on the North Coast and within the Upper Clarence
The following document was prepared from material written by Ron Heron & Bill Walker, with minor additions & alterations by Terry Moody

Mother  = wuthoong
Father  -marmung
Grandfather  nguthung
Grandmother  barbinge
Elder woman middung gun
Sister  nunarng
Brother  bunarm
Uncle  go-ung
Aunty  ngudoonje
God  Marmung gulli
River  bulloon
Mountain doogun
Carpet snake yumbar
Snake ngoonjbear
Possum gooyarnj
Goanna ngumarhl
Koala boodabee
Turtle binging
Fish jullum
Eel  jarjunje
Cat fish wugginje
Frog  juddarnje
Stories boothudum
Kangaroo goodaman

Vocabulary and expressionsGreetings and Classroom Language

How are you today ? Jingee walla with a byarn?

We are good  Booglebear ngullingarnge

Sit down and listen  Yerna gungullair

See you later  Nyarlan boobin

Goodnight  Boogle jooginje

This is Mr Walker, he is an Elder  Goodjingjarng mulla dundeegum

Our land  Ngullingnar jugoon

We are from here  Googinar judda ngulligarnje

Is, this is, I am, the, they, this, that is -  mulla

E.g. this is a snake
ngoonjbear mulla
Proper Nouns

Mt Warning Woollumbin
Mt Barney Gulla Gujin
Mt Lindsay Jullgum Boonge
Nimbin Rocks Nyimboonje
Tooloom Falls Dooloomi
Bonalbo Bunawlbu

Big jaydda
Small bijung guy
Sleepy ngoodarm bil
Slippery guddarl
Shallow bulloom
Wide  wulloong
Tall   good  dard
E.g. the snake is slippery
ngoonjbear guddarl
Interview with Gerry Bostock   http://www.valeriebarrow.com/Interview-Gerry-Bostok.pdf

“Gerry, Can you tell me how the Koorie people think about the thought of star people existing?

“Well I don‟t know - it depends on the group. But with the Bundjalungs, my people, it is our belief that we came from the stars. Then of course the people you have in Western Australia, called the Wandjinan also had that belief.

“Yes”, he nods his head wisely, “There are heaps of Aboriginal people whose beliefs are based on coming from the stars. Like David Uniapon who talks about the legend of the Pleiades of the Bundjalung Tribe.

Then so do the Hopi Indians talk about coming from the Pleiades. Some anthropologists have done work in looking for a connection with Australia and the Hopi Indians, but it hasn‟t been proved yet.”

I interject, “Maybe that is connected with the land supposed to have all been joined together at some stage.”

“There is a group of indigenous Africans who talk about the dark star and black holes, in Sirius? They have used that story in their Dreaming and their lessons about the solar system since forever – yet it was only recently discovered by NASA.”

“Gerry, I have recently watched a video about the Sphinx in Egypt questioning its true age and they brought up the subject of a face that looks like a Sphinx that is on Mars and that there is a race of aboriginals in Africa that say they came from Mars, which I thought was interesting.

The African native does seem to be a different root race, from the Australian Aborigine and yet they could be likened to the American Native Indian couldn‟t they – there does seem to be a similarity there?”

“Yes, well scientists had to come up with a new sort of term, they came up with the Australoid because they had Negroid, Caucasoid, Mongoloid. So the Australoid was used specifically to describe the Australian Aboriginal, I think the native American Indian fall into the Polynesian type, with the slightly Asiatic look.

With the new DNA testing machinery that scientists now have it has been found that every human has at least a small amount of Aborigine DNA within them.”

“That works out with our story doesn‟t it Gerry - that the human began here and went out around the world from here?”

“Yeah, and that is the Aboriginal viewpoint. That we started here, and our race began here - they didn„t come here from another place on Earth, as anthropologists would have you believe.

My personal point of view is, the anthropologists are coming from their `Christian‟ view point believing humans began in Eden and that is Ethiopia -the humans then came down around the world. But we say well there was a dual evolution involved. They say evolution began in Africa but we say no, it started here with us.”

“You spoke about the famous aboriginal David Uniapon. Is he saying that he believes star peoples were ancestors, or is that from the Dreaming stories?” I ask.

“It‟s from the Dreaming stories. If you have a look on the fifty-dollar note you will see David‟s likeness and his inventions portrayed on it, like the cross blade shear and designs of a helicopter based on Leonardo De Vinci‟s designs.

He spoke Greek and Latin and translated Aboriginal Stories into Greek and Latin. David also had a pet invention of perpetual motion, that nobody wanted to know about, which is a great shame.”

“Gerry, David Uniapon also tells the Dreaming stories of animals coming to this Earth from the stars is that right?”

“Yes, well they came from - they were created by Baiame, by Wollumbin, or by whatever Deity was in a particular area. In some areas the Deity was a man and in some place it was a women.

So for instance at the top end of Australia you have the creator as Warramelangi who is a female who had dilly bags around her neck to collect oysters and fish. She came out of the sea and mud formed around her feet and so she was able to form a landmass. That tells the story of how she went down as far as Melangi in Northern Territory creating the landscape as she went. In fact that is covered by one of the first documentaries that I was involved in called, “The Land My Mother.”

In other places like New South Wales and other parts of Queensland as well, they talk about Baiame and Baiame is a sky hero. Now Baiame would come to Earth from up there to teach the clever fellas how to fly, and so when some one was being trained in the magic arts, they were being visited from another world.”

“Gerry, we saw balls of elemental lights at a friend‟s property and believe we were looking at fairies playing on the water. The digital camera showed photos of wisps of energy looking like large angelic beings standing there also. Are they what Aborigine would call min min lights?”

“Yeah, I have seen them caught on a digital camera and if they are bright you can see into them and see geometrical patterns. In some Aborigine ceremonies you can see balls of Light, and there are so many it is like sitting in a bubble bath.

“My first memory of anything like that was when I was about 3 or 4 years old and Grandma took me to the water‟s edge at night to show me the Ghost Fisherman. It was a red light floating on the water - zig zagging across the water.

She said „See that, that‟s the ghost fisherman, he is looking for souls. They are dead finish. Don‟t come down to the water at night by yourself.

“In my healings I use the colour red light going through the crystal that enhances the healing energy. It shatters lumps in people - it is good for scattering the energy. It softens the lump and disperses it.”

“Gerry, in the Western world people speak of seeing angels, do the Aborigine people see angels or something like that?”

“No, basically it is Light - Spirit is Light and that is why min min Lights are accepted as Spirit people. It depends on the training of how you see Spirit. You might see a Being such as Jesus but that is how some would recognize the energy, of how your brain transforms it into an image that you would recognize the energy.”

“Yes, that would be like different countries having a different language explaining the same thing. I understand that Gerry.”

The delicious aroma of the curry dinner John was cooking called to us to stop – it was time to eat.

While Gerry was visiting I suggested that we try a regression to which he agreed. We knew already that he had the memory of being a star person going into the water at Broken Bay and dying there. We wanted to see if he could remember any more.

I asked him to go back to the time of where he was at his home planet. The one they had to leave.

He said, “The sun wasn’t yellow – it was blue, with blue rays.” He said, “Mikhail was from this planet. That the blue energy was what he saw when he gave healing's. I think it was Venus.

He then proceeded to describe being back on the starship. They wore cloaks of different colours that had collars that stood up high around and half way up the back of the head. They don’t have hair. They had very large black eyes, no eyelids as such. They had an inscrutable look – an expression that the Chinese have. Like the eyes are half closed and they slant. “

“Do they still have the long face?”

“Yes. He listened to them speaking and found the language very similar to the Pentecostals. He felt that the ship was from a different time span as if they had projected them there.

Its like there are three distinct races of people. Like they’re our type - no hair, slanted eyes, long faces. I get the feeling hair grew after eating the blue light. He remembered it was more important for the race to leave their planet for the sake of their young. The other two races were Draconian and Lizard like.”

Stolen Generation woman's journey to healing.

Nine-year-old Lauren Jarrett was playing with her six siblings when a car came rolling down the dirt track to her family's Glenreagh home.
 . . . . . .  And she is a weaver too.  



Anonymous said...

Just a mention - the nation to the South of Bundjalung is Yaygirr, & the correct spelling (which I notice you have on another page) is Gumbaynggirr not Gumbainggari or Gumbainggin. DId you write this article yourself, or did you source it from somewhere else? Either way it's very interesting & informative - thank you!

MEP said...

Yes they were accidental mis-spellings on my point thank you for high lighting that to me. I will have to try to find them.
Interview with Gerry Bostock http://www.valeriebarrow.com/Interview-Gerry-Bostok.pdf
Here is the source for that work, the link is included above. I thought it was interesting too and very special indeed. Informative and very touching. Thank you for commenting.

MEP said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

This is the most informative piece on the Bundjalung people i can find on the web so far.Full of priceless local knowledge and a deep respect for culture.
Thankyou, by reading this i am able to get a clear picture of Bundjalung life following your heart paid off. The reason i looked upthe site is because: I am doing a writing assignment for Uni and basing certain parts of it on a deceased friend of mine, who was stolen generation and spent time at Kinchela Boys Home.It would be good if i could ask you a few more questions about fauna, bundjalung names and possibly a few ethical points. If you have time to contact me my email is zoemariejerrat@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hi there, --- and as this page says, "-if you drop by please don't be shy... please say hello at least and leave a comment if you can type." O.K. So I'm sitting outside the Ballina activities centre after having finished our Aboriginal Elders Group activities for today. (we went ten pin bowling :) and I've had occasion to access your page and found the information both pertinent and correct as far as I am personally aware. There are some matters on which I do not feel that I can publicly comment, but apart from that, all I wish to say at this juncture is GOODonYerMATE. I'm a bit pushed for time but I will revisit later; and in the mean-time please keep up the good work so that this knowledge is not lost to our children. All my best to you and yours. _B._

Anonymous said...

FANTASTIC SITE.....Has helped me a lot and I also enjoyed Gerry's interview.

MEP said...

You guys make my heart swell and I have to say its not finished hey... anything I come across I am going to be adding here, I am so engrossed with it and just want to be able to share the awesomeness too. I put all the places I found stuff through the article. Thank you once again for saying hello.

Unknown said...

Wow☺ I really enjoyed reading your work.
Youve obviously done a serious amount of research!
I am a Proud 'Mununjali' Woman from Beaudesert QLD which is a part of the Bundjalung Nation☺
Your article has provided me with many snippets of local knowledge and stories and I Thank You☺☺

nikiray said...

Great article! i am trying to find out more about Blue Knob in the Nightcap National park. I'm wondering if you know of the story of the Lying Warrior (as in horizontal on the ground i get so confused with this word's usage) or how I could find out.

The Buzz said...

I am looking for my mate at what cultural totem the Ulmarra mob possessed. And help is appreciated.

Eddieteetree said...

Great site to find esp if you've got some Bunjalung blood! Thank you.
Just wanted to add that I was in Hawaii surfing and found that their (Kanaka Maoli) dreaming shares the story of the Three Sons and Grandmother travelling to the Far North Coast on their a Journey of exploration that ended in New Zealand, not the other way round which is yet another European invention to justify their annexing of the Hawaiian Islands
I always think it is dangerous to say " we were here for 45000 year or 100000 year as this only gives in to the European mentality that we simply came here before them and they had every right to conquer us through superior ( in their minds) technology.
It is far better to say we are of this land we were here first because we were always here and our land is as important to us as our own bodies so the idea that it can be bought and sold is slavery and therefor immoral and illegal.
On another note; I thought Bunjalung mob were Gorri not Koori as stated in the article?
Jiggi Walla tidda
Ed Rountree

Unknown said...


Would you please be able to let me know if Ibii or Ibee was a female Bunjalung name?

Many thanks


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

Wonderful information, very helpful at this point....
I have somehow found myself living at Tabulam. This journey started nearly five years ago when I handed over my destiny to my higher power. I didn't realise at the time I joined a Goddess circle, mainly to find solace from a patriarchal, greedy, autocratic insensitive society, that by honouring and respecting the feminine,I would be guided to 'the mob'.
For the past two years I have been traveling around Australia and have been introduced to the aboriginal people, their stories and the history of this amazing country, of which I knew very little. Even having been born and educated here.
I was born in Sydney,my totem is Eora. As I child, my grandmother would take me to Kurnell,Bundeena and La Perouse. At one of those places I first saw Aborigines and was told to keep my distance.
So,you can imagine how fascinated I am now to learn and experience as much as I can during the latter part of my life. I get excited, when Lewis Walker, lawman and spiritual leader, offers to take us walkabout on country and tells the stories of country, sometimes in all the Bunjalong dialects as well as English.
My joy and faith in life have been restored, through their Dreamtime stories, my childlike curiosity and adventurous spirit comes alive with appreciation and respect for mother Earth.
As Lewis likes to say,
"Live and direct"...
Booglbeh ♥️💛♥️💛

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LivingOceania said...

Great writing and fascinating work. My grandmother was a Bunjalung woman. She'd be around 120 if she was still alive today. I'm planning a return visit to country very soon. Thanks for the Keep interesting posts, keep it up!