Bundjalung people

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Bundjalung people
Aka: Badjalang (Tindale)(Horton)
Bandjalang (SIL)
IBRA 6.1 South Eastern Queensland.png
South Eastern Queensland bioregion
Language family: Pama–Nyungan
Language branch:Bandjalangic
Language group:Bundjalung
Group dialects:
Area (approx. 6,000 sq. km)
Coordinates: 29°15′S152°55′E / 29.250°S 152.917°E / -29.250; 152.917 Coordinates: 29°15′S152°55′E / 29.250°S 152.917°E / -29.250; 152.917
Rivers [4] Lower reaches of
Other geological: Cape Byron
Urban areas: [4]

The Bundjalung people (also known as Bunjalung, Badjalang and Bandjalang) are Aboriginal Australians who are the original custodians of the northern coastal area of New South Wales (Australia), located approximately 550 kilometres (340 mi) northeast of Sydney, an area that includes the Bundjalung National Park.

Aboriginal Australians term used to refer to some groups of Indigenous Australians

Aboriginal Australians are the various indigenous peoples of the Australian mainland, Tasmania, and often the Tiwi people. This group contains many distinct peoples that have developed across Australia for over 50,000 years. These peoples have a broadly shared, though complex, genetic history, but it is only in the last two hundred years that they have been defined and started to self identify as a single group. The definition of the term "Aboriginal" has changed over time and place, with the importance of family lineage, self identification and community acceptance all being of varying importance. In the past, Aboriginal Australians lived over large sections of the continental shelf and were isolated on many of the smaller offshore islands when the land was inundated at the start of the inter-glacial. However, they are considered distinct from the Torres Strait Islander people, despite extensive cultural exchange.

New South Wales State of Australia

New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In September 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 8 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.

Sydney State capital of New South Wales and most populous city in Australia and Oceania

Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds Port Jackson and extends about 70 km (43.5 mi) on its periphery towards the Blue Mountains to the west, Hawkesbury to the north, the Royal National Park to the south and Macarthur to the south-west. Sydney is made up of 658 suburbs, 40 local government areas and 15 contiguous regions. Residents of the city are known as "Sydneysiders". As of June 2017, Sydney's estimated metropolitan population was 5,230,330 and is home to approximately 65% of the state's population.


Bundjalung people all share descent from ancestors who once spoke as their first, preferred language one or more of the dialects of the Lower-Richmond branch of the Yugambeh-Bundjalung language family

The Arakwal of Byron Bay count themselves as one of the Bundjalung peoples. [1]

The Arakwal were an indigenous Australian people of the state of New South Wales.

Byron Bay, New South Wales Town in New South Wales, Australia

Byron Bay is a beachside town located in the far-northeastern corner of the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is located 772 kilometres (480 mi) north of Sydney and 165 kilometres (103 mi) south of Brisbane. Cape Byron, a headland adjacent to the town, is the easternmost point of mainland Australia. At the 2016 census, the town had a permanent population of 9,246. It is the largest town of Byron Shire, though not the shire's administrative centre.


Bundjalung is a Pama-Nyungan language. It has two unusual features: certain syllables are strongly stressed while others are "slurred", and it classifies gender into four classes: (a) masculine (b) feminine (c) arboreal and (d) neuter. [6]

In linguistics, grammatical gender is a specific form of noun class system in which the division of noun classes forms an agreement system with another aspect of the language, such as adjectives, articles, pronouns, or verbs. This system is used in approximately one quarter of the world's languages. In these languages, most or all nouns inherently carry one value of the grammatical category called gender; the values present in a given language are called the genders of that language. According to one definition: "Genders are classes of nouns reflected in the behaviour of associated words."

Tree Perennial woody plant with elongated trunk

In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated stem, or trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including only woody plants with secondary growth, plants that are usable as lumber or plants above a specified height. Trees are not a taxonomic group but include a variety of plant species that have independently evolved a woody trunk and branches as a way to tower above other plants to compete for sunlight. Trees tend to be long-lived, some reaching several thousand years old. In wider definitions, the taller palms, tree ferns, bananas, and bamboos are also trees. Trees have been in existence for 370 million years. It is estimated that there are just over 3 trillion mature trees in the world.


Wollumbin is the mountain range to the north of Mt Warning, his face and form can be seen in the ranges profile, when viewed from the north, near Chinderah MT warning.jpg
Wollumbin is the mountain range to the north of Mt Warning, his face and form can be seen in the ranges profile, when viewed from the north, near Chinderah

According to Norman Tindale, Bundjalung tribal lands encompassed roughly 2,300 square miles (6,000 km2), from the northern side of the Clarence River to the Richmond River, including Ballina with their inland extension running to Tabulam and Baryugil. The coastal Widje horde ventured no further than Rappville. [4]

Norman Tindale Australian biologist

Norman Barnett Tindale AO was an Australian anthropologist, archaeologist, entomologist and ethnologist.

Clarence River (New South Wales) river in the Northern Rivers district of New South Wales, Australia

The Clarence River, a mature wave dominated, barrier estuary, is situated in the Northern Rivers district of New South Wales, Australia.

Richmond River river in New South Wales, Australia

The Richmond River is a river with a mature wave dominated, barrier estuary, situated in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia.

Initiation ceremony

According to R. H. Mathews, the Bundjalung rite of transition into manhood began with a cleared space called a walloonggurra some distance from the main camp. On the evening the novices are taken from their mothers around dusk, the men sing their way to this bora ground where a small bullroarer (dhalguñgwn) is whirled. [7]

Robert Hamilton Mathews (1841–1918) was an Australian surveyor and self-taught anthropologist who studied the Aboriginal cultures of Australia, especially those of Victoria, New South Wales and southern Queensland. He was a member of the Royal Society of New South Wales and a corresponding member of the Anthropological Institute of London.

Rite of passage celebration of the passage which occurs when an individual leaves one group to enter another

A rite of passage is a ceremony or ritual of the passage which occurs when an individual leaves one group to enter another. It involves a significant change of status in society. In cultural anthropology the term is the Anglicisation of rite de passage, a French term innovated by the ethnographer Arnold van Gennep in his work Les rites de passage, "The Rites of Passage". The term is now fully adopted into anthropology as well as into the literature and popular cultures of many modern languages.

Bora (Australian) initiation ceremony of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia

Bora is an initiation ceremony of the Aboriginal people of Eastern Australia, descended from groups that existed in Australia and surrounding islands before European colonisation. The word "bora" also refers to the site on which the initiation is performed. At such a site, boys, having reached puberty, achieve the status of men. The initiation ceremony differs from Aboriginal culture to culture, but often, at a physical level, involved scarification, circumcision, subincision and, in some regions, also the removal of a tooth. During the rites, the youths who were to be initiated were taught traditional sacred songs, the secrets of the tribe's religious visions, dances, and traditional lore. Many different clans would assemble to participate in an initiation ceremony. Women and children were not permitted to be present at the sacred bora ground where these rituals were undertaken.

Musical instruments

The Bundjalung used a variety of instruments including blowing on a eucalyptus leaf, creating a bird-like sound. Clapsticks were used to establish a drumbeat rhythm on ceremonial dancing occasions. Emu callers, short, one foot, about 30 cm long didgeridoos were traditionally used by the Bundjalung when hunting (Eastern Australia Coastal Emus). When striking the emu-caller at one end with the open palm it sounds like an emu. This decoy attracts the bird out of the bush making it an easy prey.[ citation needed ]

Alternative names

Camp at Gladfield, A Pencil drawing by Martens, Conrad (1801-78) dated Dec. 29th 1851 - 19.1 x 31.1cm held in the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales Camp at Gladfield.png
Camp at Gladfield, A Pencil drawing by Martens, Conrad (1801–78) dated Dec. 29th 1851 - 19.1 x 31.1cm held in the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

See also




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