Expedition to the Hawkesbury River

On an expedition to the Hawkesbury River with Colbee, Marine Captain Watkin Tench notes that the dialect of the sea coast is also spoken at Parramatta.

David Collins identifies the north shore clan as Cameragal, “by far the most numerous. … most robust and muscular”. They officiate in ceremonies for many clans, in which the boy’s front upper tooth is knocked out”. Collins notes that the Cameragal had the best fishing spots around the harbour, North Head, Middle Head and the Spit. (Collins 1975)

  • Fishing from canoes, Manly Museum and Gallery
  • Guringai Fish, artwork by Jessica Birk
  • William Westall's drawing of a blind Port Jackson Koori man. Courtesy of National Library of Australia

Tench observes language differences: “Although our natives (in Sydney) and the strangers (Hawkesbury River) conversed on a par and understood each other perfectly, yet they spoke different dialects of the same language”. (Tench 1996)