Guringai festivals commence with leadership of Susan Moylan-Coombs and Warringah Council.

Many descendants of Matora, Bungaree and other early Sydney identities discover or reaffirm their connection.

Birth of children Kyle and Tyler to Tracey Howie (descendant of Bungaree and Matora) and Warren Howie, on the Central Coast.

Many Indigenous and Indigenous-support organisations are established, including Guringai Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, the Aboriginal Heritage Office, Frenchs Forest Parish, Manly Environment Centre, Northern Sydney Region Reconciliation Network, Aboriginal Support Groups in Manly Warringah and Pittwater, Mosman Reconciliation, Harbour to Hawkesbury Reconciliation Group, Bennelong and Surrounds, Hornsby and Lane Cove Residents for Reconciliation and Ku-Ring-Gai Reconciliation Centre.

  • Lane Cove River
  • Burns Bay, Lane Cove River
  • Marramarra Creek, near Biddy and John Lewis' allotment

Ian Raymond, Aboriginal Public Servant in the Dept of Sport and Recreation, lives in Dee Why. Faith Bandler, Indigenous activist and author lives on North Shore.

  • Ian Raymond, NSW Department of Health

Establishment of the northside Aboriginal Heritage Office responsible for Indigenous material heritage in Lane Cove, North Sydney, Manly, Ku-ring-gai, Pittwater, Warringah, Willoughby and Armidale Dumaresq Councils. David Watts is the Aboriginal Heritage Officer and Kim Foley is Heritage Officer (Community Volunteers).

  • David Watts, Manager ,Aboriginal Heritage Office and Cultural Centre
  • Aboriginal Heritage Office, Northbridge
  • Aboriginal Heritage Office, Northbridge

Susan Moylan-Coombs and Caroline Glass-Pattison are prime workers in the establishment of an annual Aboriginal festival on North side, the Guringai festival. They also are active with Virginia Gow in establishing NAIDOC week celebrations on Northern Beaches.

  • Julie Hendicott, Susan Moyland Coombs, Caroline Glass Pattison, Lois Birk

Corey Kirk, a young Avalon Indigenous woman, sings at the 2000 Opening of the Olympics.

  • Corey Kirk


Aboriginal Barrister and Manly resident Lincoln Crowley arrives in Manly.


Jessica Birk, a young Indigenous artist, painter and printmaker, exhibits at Art Express in the Art Gallery of NSW. She becomes an established artist in Northern Sydney.

  • Jessica Birk
  • Guringai Fish, artwork by Jessica Birk
  • 'Cromer', artwork by Jessica Birk

“A Story to Tell - On a Road Toward Reconciliation” tells story of formation of the Aboriginal Support Group.

Tale of a Whale by Emma Lee tells an Aboriginal story, in association with the Sydney Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council.


Tributes pour in after death of Sue Osborne, Aboriginal Support Group member.


Bungaree and Matora descendant Warren Whitfield calls his family to recognize their Guringai Heritage through the formation of a corporation.

Guringai Link Aboriginal Corporation is formed.


Skeletal remains of fourteen Indigenous people dated at 4000 bp [before the present] are discovered during excavations for a bus shelter at Narrabeen. They are the oldest skeletal remains so far located in the Sydney region. The remains are put to rest at North Head. Among the skeletal material are 17 stone artefacts including back blades. One man appears to have been ritually killed. Stone back blades, used as barbs on spears are found inside his body. There is also an axe mark on the skull. (abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/12/2125690.htm)

Herb Smith, a Wiradjuri man, is appointed Aboriginal Community Facilitator of the Aboriginal Child, Youth and Family Strategy across 11 local councils in the Northern Sydney region.

The Aboriginal Support Group of the Manly Warringah Pittwater region celebrates 25 years of work to support Aboriginal people. Enid McIlraith tells story of beginnings where they worked alongside Koories for the Long March 1988 and the rescue of the Australia Hall (the site of 1938 Day of Mourning Protest), marching for land rights and many other local events.

  • Pat Frater, Aboriginal Support Group, Northern Beaches
  • Suzen Meagher
  • Liz Landers, Aboriginal Support Group, Northern Beaches


Nancy Hill Wood is an Indigenous elder and a member of the Stolen Generations, Nancy is Chair of the Sorry Day Committee and lives on the Northern Beaches.

  • Nancy Hill-Wood, Chair, 2009 Sorry Day Committee

Newport Beach artist, Indigenous man Paul Mc Carthy paints a work to be used for flyers and programs of Guringai Festival.


Most members of Guringai Link Aboriginal Corporation living north of Broken Bay, as did Bungaree in his early years.

  • Descendants of Bungaree (from left) Trudy Smith, Lynette Robley, Reta Smith, Margaret Robinson, Tracey Howie

Sue Pinkerton is appointed Aboriginal Project Officer-Northern, Sydney Aboriginal Social Plan. She bases herself at the Aboriginal Heritage Office in Northbridge.

  • Sue Pinkham

Em Marne and Emma Franks are two Aboriginal year 12 students who live in school time at Biala Aboriginal Hostel. Em is a prefect at her school, Mackellar Girls High and Emma is at Narrabeen.

Phillip McLaren, a Kamilaroi novelist, lives in the northern area. His first novel Sweet Water - Stolen Land wins the David Unaipon Award for Literature 2007.


The Ryal Far West Children’s Home changes its name to Royal Far West.

Eliza Pross is a young Indigenous woman who works as a Policy and Development Manager for Northern Beaches Community Care, she initiates a program for the Care of Elderly Indigenous people in the area.

2008 - 2009

Gawura Centre for Indigenous education is established at Brookvale TAFE. The active and influential Aboriginal Education Consultative Group meets monthly at Gawura to take action and work for Aboriginal education and cultural matters in the Northern Beaches. Notable work is done by hard working Indigenous members: Julie Hendicott, Lois Birk, Caroline Glass Paterson, Eliza Pross, Cliff Lyons, Courtney Lyons, Ian Raymond, Paul Shaw and Lana Shaw, Natalie Taylor, Albert Torrens, Sarah Torrens, Emma Lowrie, Eddie Goodall, Caitlin Lawton and others.

  • Julie Hendicott, Susan Moyland Coombs, Caroline Glass Pattison, Lois Birk
  • Eliza Pross and Susan Lowrie, Northern beaches AECG members
  • Cliff Lyons

Manly Sea Eagles Rugby League Club has many famous Indigenous players such as Cliff Lyons, Mal Cochran, Albert Torrens and Uncle Bob Waterer.

  • Shell midden, Marramarra Creek
  • Mal Cochrane
  • Bob Waterer

The Aboriginal Heritage Office in Northbridge undertakes strategic planning with councils: Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Manly, North Sydney, Warringah, Willoughby site mapping, site management and protection, conservation of sites and recovery of human remains, Balls Head whale engraving protection, and working with Australian Museum, education and awareness programs in TAFE and schools. Festivals, NAIDOC and Reconciliation events, fostering Networks, local government conferences, National Parks and Wildlife advisory roles, Willoughby Aboriginal history project.

  • Aboriginal Heritage Office, Northbridge
  • Aboriginal Heritage Office, Northbridge


Growing recognition of Guringai Heritage by descendants in Guringai country. Many people of Indigenous descent are recognised by local councils. The 2009 chairperson since 2004 of the Guringai Link Aboriginal Corporation is Tracey Howie, a descendant of Sophie, Matora’s daughter and Charlotte Ashby, Bungaree’s grand daughter. Lynne Stewart is a descendant of Bungaree. Patsy Cohen is a descendant of Bungaree and Maria. Warren Whitfield is a descendant of Charlotte Ashby.

  • Bob and Christine Waterer, Palm Beach
  • Bob Waterer's family tree: descendants of Bungaree and Matora
  • Lyn Stewart
  • Stacey Bisat, Belinda Stewart,Joanne Stewart, Leanne Sanders
  • Bob Cohen
  • Descendants of Bungaree (from left) Trudy Smith, Lynette Robley, Reta Smith, Margaret Robinson, Tracey Howie
  • Margaret Robinson
  • Charlotte Ashby, grandaughter of Bungaree, third from left
  • Hannah Matilda Ashby, descendant of Bungaree
  • Michelle Kulk
  • Trudy Smith, Member, Guringai Elders Tribal Link
  • Denis Foley and Rickie Maynard

Tracey Howie, Chairperson of the Guringai Link Aboriginal Corporation, explains the difficulty of demonstrating identity under the Native Title Act of NSW.

  • Tracey Howie

Tracey Howie:

That’s another argument with Native Title in NSW. As we know. We, Sydney mob, we were the hardest hit. They came in and they either killed us, or they bred it out of us, or they disease-riddened us, and all of our culture, all of our language, everything was outlawed. It became illegal, and there are, that proof is still there of those laws that were brought in. So how can we, therefore, prove Native Title when, had our ancestors done that, [publicly identified themselves as Koori people we wouldn’t be alive today. So it contradicts it. Native Title Law contradicts itself. How can you do it? You can’t.

I’d like to you know, elaborate, you know, when people say ‘the Stolen Generations’, it’s not taking anything away from the people who were removed from their families, but it goes deeper than just being the removal of a person, of a body. It was the removal of our culture the removal of our song, the removal of our dance, our language. Everything. It was all stolen. Not just the children. Everything was stolen.

On the Central coast and near Wyong, The families continue to meet every year for Christmas at Patonga Camping ground, near where Bungaree was born. Women remember old customs like jumping naked in the river on New Year’s night. No men allowed! They remember being told about the last corroboree at Chittawai Point on Central Coast. They know where there are five sacred sites. Tracey Howie says “Our concepts of traditional custodianship are that we didn’t inherit anything, it is our job to protect the land, we are borrowing it for our children”. (Oral history 2009)

Now in its ninth year, the Guringai Festival celebrates Aboriginal culture and heritage, honouring the traditional homelands of the Guringai people. It aims to raise awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in the Northern Sydney region and involves ten councils. Festival events include guided tours of Aboriginal sites, bushwalks, exhibitions and screenings.

The Festival coincides with the International Year of Astronomy enabling Koories to participate with many Dreaming stories about the relationship between ancestral beings, the sun, moon, stars and planets.

Susan Moylan-Coombs and Caroline Glass-Pattison, Co-Chairs, Guringai Festival Committee. Susan says: “We hope locals and the wider community enjoy this year’s Guringai Festival and all the events it has to offer across the Northern Sydney region, the traditional homelands of the Guringai people,”

  • Julie Hendicott, Susan Moyland Coombs, Caroline Glass Pattison, Lois Birk

Caroline Glass-Pattison is an Indigenous woman who works as a Community Development Officer at the Benevolent Society. She says “I believe in social justice and linking Aboriginal people to each other.” She works on the Social plan with Susan Moylan Coombs.

The festival involves numerous reconciliation and community groups across New South Wales.

Memorandum of Understanding is signed between The Northern Beaches Aboriginal Education Consultative Committee and the NSW Dept of Community and Aged Care to put in place strategy for caring for aged Aboriginal people in area. This was carried out at a Community Consultation meeting at Ingleside with a smoking ceremony by Les de Jong.

  • Les de Jong

Lois Birk gives an acknowledgement of country at the Northern Beaches Annual General Meeting of the Aboriginal education Consultative Group. She says “We acknowledge that we are on Guringai country at Stoney Range Reserve, Dee Why. We will listen to each other. We walk softly and gently and pay homage to Indigenous people of all nations. We respect the spirits of this place”.

  • Lois Birk Northern beaches AECG
  • Lois Birk on post card for Naidoc week

Central Coast Aboriginal Education Pathways Awards honour 420 Aboriginal students for excellence in primary school and School Certificate, Higher School Certificate, TAFE, Young Connections, Central Coast Community College and the University of Newcastle.

Regional awards for Northern Beaches Aboriginal children from Kindy to University.

Harmony Day celebrated at Fisher Rd School with water and smoking ceremony.

  • Smoking coolamon presented by Lois Birk

Death of Uncle George Watts, respected elder.

The Northern Beaches Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and the AECGs from other Northside areas continue their community work to grow the Indigenous culture and social policy of the areas.

Koori diets are now much the same as everyone else’s.

Uncle Bob Waterer continues his work of reconciliation by giving the Welcome to Country speech at Palm Beach for Barton Lynch’s Blast Off surf competition for young people. Redfern Aboriginal Medical service is supported to bring Koorie kids to participate in surf competition.

  • Bob Waterer, Christine Waterer and Barton Lynch at Blast Off, Palm Beach