What's On In Lismore City

  • Councillor Briefing

    Tue, Apr 22 2014

    A Councillor Briefing will be held in the Council Chambers, 43 Oliver Avenue, Goonellabah, where Councillors will be briefed on
  • Councillor Briefing

    Tue, Apr 29 2014

    A Councillor Briefing will be held in the Council Chambers, 43 Oliver Avenue, Goonellabah, where Councillors will be briefed on
  • Councillor Interview

    Mon, May 05 2014

    Interview times are available with Councillors Bennett and Clough. Interviews are held at the Goonellabah Sports and Acquati

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HOME >> THINGS TO SEE & DO >> GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT LISMORE >> HISTORY OF LISMORE

Local Tribes

Unfortunately, little is known or documented on the origins of the local aboriginal Bundjalung tribes, except that they are believed to have been the first inhabitants of the Lismore region. Current evidence indicates the Bundjalung arrived from far northern Australia somewhere around 6000 years BC. They occupied the region extending from the Logan River in Queensland to as far south as the Clarence River in northern New South Wales and west to the Great Dividing Range.

The Bundjalung are of the land and depended on the land for their survival. The tribe and its various family groups moved from one area to the next in search of variety in their diet. The district provided an abundance of native fauna and flora which was hunted and gathered by the Bundjalung. Their nomadic lifestyle maintained the balance between supply and their demand for food. Aboriginal Djagans Aroud Lismore

Representatives from the Bundjalung clans were however permitted from time to time to visit the lands of adjoining clans and share in the hunt when an abundance of a particular type of food was available. They would travel as far north as the Bunya Mountains (up to 500Km) to cut the bunya nut cones which flowered every three years. They camped and fed off the nuts and held aboriginal dances or corroboreees at night. These gatherings provided an opportunity to trade both goods and culture with their neighbours.

The Bundjalung family clans would travel to the coast to feast on fish, pippies and oysters, and west for larger game such as the wallaby. This food supplemented their regular diet of possum, bird, flying fox, porcupine, reptiles and native plants and berries. Within the clan the women would undertake the gathering while the hunting was left to the men of the tribe.

Life within the tribal group was generally peaceful and governed by strict social and spiritual lore. Marriage was not a ceremony as such but more the giving of a promised girl to a man after the completion of his initiation ceremony. The couples were chosen by the tribal elders with refusal and elopements being frowned upon and in some instances punishable by death.

The Bundjalung Aboriginal tribe comprised eleven major dialectic subdivisions, these were further divided into extended family groups or "hordes". The main group in the Lismore area was the Wiyabal, whose territory also covered Alstonville, Dunoon, Nimbin, Cawongla and Larnook. Each extended family group had its own home territory (or djagun) for hunting and cult-heroes of mythology. The groups were nomadic only within their own territory and trespassing into another groups djagan was forbidden.

The Wiyabal hordes territory roughly co-insides with the present day boundaries of Lismore Local Government Area. The Wiyabal djagun included numerous mythological and sacred sites. The Tucki Tucki bora ring (i.e. initiation site) was a main traditional site along with two other bora rings near the villages of Bentley and Nimbin. Several Djurbils (i.e. ritual sites for beseeching increases of various kinds (e.g. food )) were well known, one for possums at today's Wilson Park, Lismore; and one for echidna at North Lismore on the stone quarry hill. There was a Djurbil for Cat birds at Mount Lion (Jiggi) and one of the most awesome sacred sites to the Wiyabal tribe at Parrots Nest. It was here that the Hoop Pine curse was invoked by the Cooradgi against offenders of the tribal codes. The ritual coincided with the bone pointing procedure common among Aboriginal tribes throughout Australia. Blue Knob and Hanging Rock in the Nimbin district were also very sacred sites for the Wiyabal with deep mythological significance.

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