In Goulburn NSW, the plains and Wollondilly River provided native game and fish for a number of the traditional aboriginal peoples including: Mulwaree, Tarlo, Burra Burra, Wollondilly, Wiradjuri, Gundungurra, Dharrook, Tharawal, Lachlan, Pajong, Parramarragoo, Cookmal and Gnunawal. The Goulburn region was known as a meeting place for all these groups, it wasn’t inhabited by just one group of people.
Great epidemics of disease largely wiped out the indigenous population in the 19th century and sadly, few of the original inhabitants remained by the turn of the 20th.
Records dating back to the 1830s indicate the river flats at Bungonia Road, on the outskirts of Goulburn city, was once the corroboree site of the Gandangara, who were virtually wiped out by an influenza epidemic in 1846/7.
Evidence remains of sites where stone tools were made and great corroborees were held – the last being late in the 19th century. Some known significant sites locally include:
· Goulburn Railway Station (a meeting place, corroboree site)
· Kenmore Hospital (ceremonial area)
· Rocky Hill (a bora site where initiations were held, a “man’s place”)
· Corroboree Hill near Taralga
· All Saints Church (corroboree site)
· Lansdowne Park Estate (burial site)
· Wollondilly River & Mulwaree Flats
Aboriginal meanings for some local place names include:
Wollondilly – water trickling over rocks
Mulwaree – long water
Pejar – large area of water
Wombeyan – big kangaroo
Canberra – meeting place
Bungendore – palace of gum blossoms
Wingecarribee – flight of birds
For more information contact the Pejar Local Aboriginal Land Council on (02) 4822 3552 from Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm. Fax: (02) 4822 3551. Address: PO Box 289, Goulburn 2580.
Additional resource: Aborigines of the Goulburn District (1992) by Jim Smith available for loan from the Southern Tablelands Regional Library.
To explore much more of Goulburn & Surrounds’ rich heritage, be sure to contact the Goulburn Visitor Information Centre by phone on free call 1800 353 646 or visit: http://www.igoulburn.com/