April 24 - 30, 2011: Issue 3
Finding meaning in words from the Garigal and Awabakal people, particularly the Wannungini peoples of the Central Coast, Haweksbury and Pittwater has proved difficult. To define the essence of Sunrise Hill, and trace the paths of the women who must have walked and lived there a hundred years before any beach cottage was built, has entailed finding and defining what remnants remain. 'Barrenjoey', for instance, also spelled in earlier records as Barranjoey, Barrangui and Barrenjuee, has a meaning of 'little kangaroo' and would refer to the wallabies that are still present in the national park opposite and throughout the bus reserves from there to Terrey Hills and Belrose and throughout Warriewood, Narrabeen.
The plants, the rocks, the seasons all have meanings for fishing, for harvesting bush foods, for singing stories in our First Nations traditions. Petroglyphs mark sacred places, the astrological cycles and what came in season. These were ceremony places - markers for what may be found or what comes in the cycles of the year - whales, places where wallaby and kangaroo live, just as markings on trees on ridgelines throughout our area signified food places, food trees.
Fish came in due season; the flowering of the Sydney Wattles were a sign that mullet had returned. Christmas always brought the blackfish. Emu and wallaby were also once in abundance. Whales, to saltwater peoples, came to short and beached themselves to provide food for the tribes.
There were plants for eating, plants for medicine and some were for spirituality. Large rocks symbolise sleeping or ;’set’ dreamtime beings. Hills were and are totemic sacred ‘bora’ places.
“Most of the sites sit on hilltops surrounded by spectacular views to the bush and ocean in the distance. Others are surrounded by vegetation and are to be searched for.” (Veronesi. F. 2008).
In 1836 Boin, Bowen or Bohun, eldest son of Bungaree by his wife Toura, moved his family to what was for them the western beach of Barrenjoey (Barrangui; wallaby or little kangaroo). They lived near the old customs house. With him came his wife Maria, or Maryn, his daughters Theela and Theda (Jane) and son Mark. Jonza and Nan or Naney, Maria’s parents, came too.
Bowen worked as a tracker, finding smugglers, sly grog distillers and bushrangers in the creeks and bays of Pittwater. His daughters and the elder women would have fished and gathered seasonal natural crops.
At puberty girls were married and went to live with their husband. Their mothers and elders prepared them for marriage with knowledge about their sexuality and bodies. Rituals included ceremonial bathing, separation from the tribe for varying periods of time and food taboos.
Due to a lack of records people can only speculate on the visits of the Bungaree women to Sunrise Hill but as Dreaming Tracks or Songlines stemmed from Barrenjoey to Manly, and the original Pittwater road built by settlers here was along these tracks, it is certain they went there. The plants that dominate the landscape still are women’s spirituality plants such as the Banksia (of spirituality) and the she oak (of fertility and pregnancy, womb and ovaries etc.).These hills of Palm Beach were also once prolific with Waratahs - another 'female' plant and flower in our First Nations peoples knowledge. These, and the wattles and grevilleas also found in the remnant of bush on this hill, were a timetable to signify what place in each season had arrived and what could be harvested. The hill’s round shape also suggests mother lore and women’s wisdom.
To celebrate Maria, Theda, Nan, and Theely, and all aboriginal women, our third lady of Sunrise Hill is the hill itself and the ancient peoples who once sang, danced and ate here. Images from that place and its current flowerings are our tribute to their still present voices. Just standing in this kept bush reserve you can feel this is a female place and even sense their presence still.
Photos taken in the Reserve atop Sunrise hill in 2011
ON THE LAND.
Kookoomgiligai is actually the name given to a home at 42 Sunrise road, Heritage listed by Warringah Shire Council - a listing which persisted with Pittwater Council. It is a name that could easily be applied to this reserve itself. Kookoomgiligai: Gai; also means ‘woman’ in Garigal, Gilgai; from New England region has meaning of ‘waterhole’, and where this page dedicated to these first women in this 'women's' place stems from.
This park was dedicated for a Public School by the Barrenjoey Land Company in their first subdivisions, from 1921 on, and persisted as such, even when the Lots of land bought by Dr. Brown Craig were sold in 1940.
9 May 17899th. Falling to leeward of the North Head we made a trip with success and at 3 passed between the Heads. At 6, anchored in Sydney Cove where we found the Supply.We found that a native man had been taken by force by Lieutenant Ball, commander of the Supply, for the Governor, it not being possible to persuade any of them to come amongst us. He was for some time kept with an iron about his leg and, when on board the Supply going down the harbour, he jumped overboard, but was taken up and prevented from joining his countrymen and old companions who were near. He was so well reconciled to his situation when we arrived that he was allowed to walk about by himself. His irons were taken off.[Page 162]When an old man and his child were brought up to Sydney Cove with the small pox out on them, soon after this old man, another native man was found in the same situation, with a child laying by him, both of which were brought up to the hospital. The native at the Governor's (Arrabanoo) met them without fear of the disorder, by which it was then supposed that he was ignorant of that disorder, or that he had had it and was recovered. The two men died before we arrived, but the children were then on the recovery.From the great number of dead natives found in every part of the harbour, it appears that the small pox had made dreadful havoc among them. We did not see a canoe or a native the whole way coming up the harbour and were told that scarce any had been seen lately except laying dead in and about their miserable habitations, whence it appears that they are deserted by their companions as soon as the disorder comes out on them, and those who are attacked with this disorder left to shift for themselves. We judge this from their having been found not buried, in every part of the harbour. Some have been found with a child laying dead close to them and some, who have apparently used their utmost exertions to get at water, having been found laying dead between a cave and a run of water.
[Page 165]17 June 1789Wednesday, 17th. The Governor and party returned from Broken Bay. In the branch running to the NW out of the SW arm they discovered that an opening round an island, which had not been examined before, led to a fresh water river up which they went about twenty miles from the island at the mouth of it, when they were obliged to return for want of provisions to enable them to proceed.When they gave up their pursuit they had 6 fathomss water and made use of it both for drinking and cooking. They met with but few natives and found some that died of the small pox laying near the path between Port Jackson and Broken Bay.In a Cove of the southern arm they met with a woman who had just recovered but was so reduced and weak that she could not accompany her companion who ran away on the boat coming in near where they were. This poor creature crawled in among the long grass to hide herself and was by chance found in that situation. After having received every relief that could be given her, she became familiar as her fears subsided, but was not to be found when the boats came away. By Captain Hunter's Observation, taken near the inner South Head of Broken Bay, it appears to be 15 miles to the northward of Port Jackson.
Further - references
Fraser, in 1892, came up with the name Kurringai to describe our peoples. Guri/Koori meaning ‘black man’ and ngai meaning ‘black woman’ or ‘belonging to’. Bring the words together and get ‘GuriNgai’. From http://www.guringai.com.au/text.html
Gai; also means ‘woman’ in Garigal
Gilgai; from New England region has meaning of ‘waterhole’
Shaun Hooper, a Wiradjuri man and a leader of the project, explains, "All across Australia there's pathways that people could use to move about the country. As long as you knew the protocol and the proper ceremonies associated with each place you could use those pathways.” From: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/09/26/1064083186183.html
Trees (particularly old growth forests), "Sacred sights" and earth grid (song line) nodes are places where higher amplitudes of energies exist, & can have good healing potential if wisely applied.
Veronesi. F. 2008. Mapping Footprints Lost Geographies in Australian Landscapes. University of Sydney.
Guringai languages Teachers Resource: http://www.gibberagon-e.schools.nsw.edu.au/resources/Resources/ABStudies_TRB.pdf
ALTERATION of TITLE OF RESUMED PROPERTIES DEPARTMENT TO GOVERNMENT REAL ESTATE OFFICE.
IT is hereby notified that His Excellencny the Governor, with the advice of the Executive Council, has approved of the title of the Resumed Properties Department being altered to that of the Government Real Estate Office as from 1st January 1950
JAMES McGIRR, Colonial Treasurer The Treasury, New South Wales,
Sydney, 8th December, 1949. ALTERATION of TITLE OF RESUMED PROPERTIES DEPARTMENT TO GOVERNMENT REAL ESTATE OFFICE. (1949, December 9). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001), p. 3669. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225594328