Friday, May 21, 2010


I have recently come across another Indigenous Australian group's claim of traditional ownership of the lands of the present day Australian Capital Territory. The Lundy family members of the Ngarigu have a claim pending in the Federal Court of Australia.

Their Claim: (Ngarigu) The Traditional owners of the Manaroo, the Limestone Plains and the Southern Alps regions of New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory are the Ngarigu Language Group. We are currently undertaking a Ngarigu Dialect Boundary claim in the Federal Court with the aim of the recognition of our ancestry and culture throughout the region.

The Monaro Plains begin about the location of Michelago in NSW. This is roughly the southern edge of the political border established with the founding of the Australian Federal Territory in 1911. It appears the Ngambri and Ngunnawal peoples do not dispute the Monaro's traditional ownership however.

The Ngarigu website is (here) and for those not keeping up the Ngambri People are also claiming ownership (post here). The ACT Government's accepted people are the Ngunnawal who don't appear to have a website so there is a Wikipedia article (here).

Interesting times...

'Aboriginal, Monaro District' (circa ?)

National Library of Australia (here)


  1. 3 Indigenous tribal groups were based in and around Canberra-Queanbeyan: The Ngunnawal (from the Wiradjirri tribal group) plus the Walgulu & Ngarigo (from the Ngarigu tribal group). The Ngunnawal held what is know northern Canberra, the Ngarigo held the south while the Walgulu where to the South-East, holding the area including Queanbeyan to Lake George to Burra to Braidwood. The Walgulu appear to have dissappeared (much arsenic posioning, European diseases and worse), Ngarigu seem to have "integrated" more readily (some women became partners with settlers and men became shepherds and horsemen), however many of their sacred sites, burial sites etc still exist and can be found — if you know what to look for. The three tribes were in continual contact (which could be either trade or warfare) and seem to have shared a large number of beliefs (unusual amongst the diversity of indigeous groups). One thing that is common, particularly on the Eastern Seaboard, is the refusal of the tribes to allow their rituals or customs to be revealed to members of the opposite gender — the tribes had two separate cultures within the same tribe.

    Three major corroboree sites exist within the borders of Canberra, all in North Canberra. One is on the border between the lands of the Ngunnawal & the Walgulu. Although nothing remains of it, the park on the site has been named Corroboree Park. The other two are on the edge of what is now Lake Burley Griffin; the Australian National University was built on the site of the one in Ngunnawal land (due East of the Botanical Gardens) while the other is now Black Mountain Peninsula (South West of the Gardens). The area between them served as a battleground areas. The Ngarigu rock shelter at Birrigai has been dated at 20,000 years old.

    There is some disputation amongst descendants of the Ngunnawal and Ngarigu. Despite having no presence at the Aboriginal tent embassy or in the Monaro/Tharwa areas the ACT Government recognises exclusive Ngunnawal coverage over all ACT with the Ngarigu seeking recognition through various legal and government agencies. One of the Ngarigu families is "Mundy" not "Lundy" with "Old Mundy" being seen as a "chief" by colonial authroties and local settlers.

  2. Thank you. So much to learn.


History lost through lack of funding

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