Topics: Culture: North Coastal

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2004 - view

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

2005 - view

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.

2008 - 2009 - view

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.

2008 - 2009 - view

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.

2009 - view

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

2009 - view

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

2009 - view

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”

2009 - view

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.

2009 - view

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.

2009 - view

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”.