The Darug are a group descending from an indigenous Australian people of that name, which shares strong ties of kinship and, in pre-colonial times, survived as skilled hunters in family groups or clans scattered throughout much of what is modern-day Sydney.
|aka Dharug, Dharruk, Dharrook, Darrook, Dharung, Broken Bay tribe|
Sydney Basin bioregion
|Group dialects:||Dharuk, Gamaraygal, Iora|
|Area (approx. 6,000 sq. km)|
|Location:||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|Rivers:||Cooks, Georges, Hawkesbury, Lane Cove, Nepean, Parramatta|
The Darug, originally a Western Sydney people, were bounded by the Kuringgai to the northeast around Broken Bay, the Darkinjung to the north, the Wiradjuri to the west on the eastern fringe of the Blue Mountains, the Gandangara to the southwest in the Southern Highlands, the Eora to the east and the Tharawal to the southeast in the Illawarra area.
The Dharug, now largely extinct, is generally considered one of two dialects, the other being the language spoken by the neighbouring Eora, constituting a single language. The word myall, a pejorative word in Australian dialect denoting any Aborigine who kept up a traditional way of life, originally came from the Dharug language term mayal, which denoted any person hailing from another tribe.
Norman Tindale reckoned Darug lands as encompassing 2,300 square miles (6,000 km2), taking in the mouth of the Hawkesbury River, and running inland as far as Mount Victoria. It took in the areas around Campbelltown, Liverpool, Camden, Penrith and Windsor.
Traditionally, in contemporary Dharug thinking, there was a cultural divide between the western Darug and the Eora, whom they call the coastal Darug, katungal or "sea people". They built canoes and their diet was primarily seafood, including fish and shellfish from Sydney Harbour, Botany Bay and their associated rivers. The inland Darug were paiendra or "tomahawk people". They hunted kangaroos, emus and other land animals and used stone axes more extensively.
The Darug nation was divided up into a number of woodland clans who each tended to live in a certain geographic area. This geographic area would also house descendant clans. Each clan typically included 50 to 100 people. According to James Kohen, they numbered 15.
- (1) Bediagal
- (2) Bidjigal
- (3) Boolbainora
- (4) Burreberongal
- (5) Burramattagal
- (6) Cabragal
- (7) Cannemegal
- (8) Cattai
- (9) Gommerigal
- (10) Kurrajong
- (11) Mulgoa
- (12) Murringong
- (13) Tugagal
- (14) Wandeandegal
- (15) Warrawarry
History of contact
Smallpox, introduced in 1789 by the British settlers, wiped out up to 90% of the population in some areas. They lived in the natural caves and overhangs in the sandstone of the Hawksbury region, although some did choose to make huts out of bark, sticks and branches.
A strong centre of cultural attachment for the Darug people has been the "Blacks Town" (at the modern suburb of Colebee) in the Blacktown local government area (formerly Blacktown Shire). However, in September 2012 the Blacktown City Council decided to cease recognising the Darug tribe as the traditional owners of the area. The Council also passed a motion, opposed by some councillors, to begin a process to consider changing the name "Blacktown". An online petition was launched calling for the recognition of the Darug. According to one of the Liberal Councillors, Jess Diaz, "a consensus must be reached once and for all on who composed the traditional owners apart from the Darug people".
Notable Darug people
- Yarramundi A Boorooberongal clansman, whose daughter Maria Lock and grandson Colebee has a significant role in early assimilation history.
- Anthony Fernando, early twentieth century activist
- Marion Leane Smith, only Australian Aboriginal woman known to have served in the First World War
- Daniel Moowattin, third Australian Aboriginal person to visit England
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