culturally sensitive landscape of the Tuross River including Coila
area contains a combination of Aboriginal heritage values relating
spirituality, travelling, working, living and resource collection.
Large numbers of
archaeological sites have been recorded within the boundaries of
this CSL, with
concentrations around Meringo/Congo, Tuross Heads and between Blackfellows
Point and Potato Point.
The majority of archaeological sites are stone artefact
assemblages, some of which are very extensive, such as at Congo.
A number of large middens have been recorded on headlands, such
at Binge Point and in dune fields behind beaches such as at that
north of Blackfellows Point. The contents of some middens indicate
economies based on a wide range of resources, from the forests,
oceans and wetlands.
middens suggest a focus on a particular resource zone such as mudflats.
Rare site types – ochre quarries and silcrete quarries have
also been recorded at Congo, suggesting that this area may have
had particular significance in traditional times.
Yuin [Djuwin] tribal area as recorded by Howitt in 1904 extends
Shoalhaven River in the north, to Cape Howe in the south and west
to the Great
Dividing Range. According to local Aboriginal knowledge, thirteen
 sub tribal
groupings exist within the Yuin tribal area. Yuin tribal subgroups
links to this area include the Walbanga and Bringa.
a linguistic level, the Coila
and Tuross area is associated with the Dhurga [Thoorga / Durga]
the Djirringanj language region extends into the area from the south.
the Yuin tribal area Howitt recorded another type of division; the
[guya = south] and Kurial [kuru = north] coastal sub tribes, together
Katungal [Katung = sea].
the Guyangal sub tribe Howitt recorded number of
clan divisions, one of which being the Bugelli Manji clan group
Moruya district, north of Coila Lake. Whilst the term Manji is a
referring to a place in general, earlier references relating to
the Bugelli Manji clan
identify their range as being associated with the Moruya, Bergalia,
Congo and Bingi
areas, not far from Coila Lake and record alternative spelling for
the same term such
as Burgali, Borgalia, Bengalee, Birgalea, Bukelle, Bengalia, Bogalea
Today, we know the area as Bergalia, immediately south of Moruya.
Aboriginal clan group and or place names recorded during the early
period include Canga [Congo], Moorooya [Moruya], Terosse [Tuross]
spirituality is a primary feature of the cultural heritage values
with the Tuross River and Tuross Lake landscape. The area not only
important habitat for a number of totemic species such as the gunyu
[black swan], it
is also associated with the creation story relating to the Jumalung
The area of spiritual significance encompasses the Tuross Falls,
the Tuross River, the Tuross Lake and associated islands, through
to the ocean headwaters. Ancient
traveling routes incorporate the Tuross and Wadbilliga Rivers in
the pathway linking
significant features along the coast [for instance Gulaga] to significant
Additionally, the coastal traveling route made use of Tuross Head
as a stop over point during extended journeys and the ceremonial
ground in the vicinity of Coila Lake.
contact site is recorded in this region. In the late 1800s, Coorall,
Aboriginal boy provided an oral account of a ship passing by Tuross
Point, no doubt
his family were camped nearby. Oral accounts record Black Hill,
on the northern
slopes above Coila Lake, east of the highway as the site of conflict
between European settlers and local Aboriginal residence.
number of scenarios have been recorded including a potential massacre
and or an extensive burial of Aboriginal people struck by Yellow
Fever in the late 1800s. Although some regions of Australia were
less violent than others disease and violence during the frontier
period were often hidden from the public records thus limiting relevant
evidence. None the less, the area is considered to contain spiritual
elements; spirits are sometimes seen and heard in the area [Trisha
Ellis in Donaldson 2006].
of the fourteen Aboriginal Reservations declared across the Eurobodalla
were located in the Tuross area. In 1850 the Eurobodalla Reserve
was established at
Eurobodalla, west of Bodalla. In 1877 the government declared a
further three; one at
Blackfellows Point for Yarraro, one at Terouga Lake for Merriman
and one at Tuross
Lake for Richard Bolloway.
In 1878, a fifth reserve was declared at Tuross Lake for Neddy,
and in 1880 a sixth reserve was set-aside at Turlinjah for Benson
Wynoo who worked for John Hawdon. Aboriginal children attended Turlinjah
Public School. The area was still being used into the 1940s. Six
reserves is a substantial number of reservations in a relatively
small area. Birth and death records correlate with the occupation
of reservations in the area. Richard Bolloway was born at Brou Lake
in 1831. Elizabeth Jane Chapman and Rosa Bolloway were both born
at Turilinjah in 1891 and 1873 respectively. Bodalla, Nerrigundah
and Cadgee all contain Aboriginal burial places.
the early 1900s, seasonal farm work along the Tuross River and the
holiday camps at nearby coastal locations such as Potato Point and
involved hundreds of Aboriginal families. Almost half of the heritage
associated with Aboriginal people's participation in the seasonal
farm industry across the Eurobodalla are located along the Tuross
farmlands stretched along the Tuross River, from the headwaters
at Tuross Heads, around Tuross Lake, upstream to Nerrigundah in
the west. Coopers Island, also within Tuross Lake, was a major seasonal
work place. Work camps evolved on or close by the farms where families
worked. Pocket camps were also established in Bodalla in response
to the available seasonal picking work. Additionally, Sawmills were
established at Potato Point and Nerrigundah. Both of these places
employed Aboriginal people
collection places within this landscape primarily relate to the
estuarine and river systems; Potato Point, Tuross River, Tuross
Lake and Coila Lake
all contain heritage value in relation to ancient and contemporary
practises, particularly in relation to fishing and seafood collection.
Lake is classified as a traditional prawn collection site [Vivienne
Mason in Donaldson 2006]. In the 1930s, Linda Cruse's parents lived
next to Coila Creek in a shack, near where the service station is
today. Her father fished on Coila Lake. He sold the fish to feed
his family [Linda Cruse in Donaldson 2006]. The Connell family moved
from Nerrigundah to Black Hill in 1948. The family lived there for
two years in an old house that Ernest Connell fixed up. They were
working at Coopers Island at the time picking seasonal vegetables.
Margaret remembers fishing and prawning in Coila Lake and walking
to Bingi through the bush and across the paddocks [Margaret Carriage
in Donaldson 2006].
off work was spent dancing at the Nerrigundah Barn, swimming at
Hole at Nerrigundah, Singing at the Tally Ho Hall and watching movies
Bodalla Hall. In this area holiday camps were frequented when the
came to an end and include Blackfellows Point, Potato Point, Brunderee
Lake, Tuross Lake, Tuross Head, Coila Lake and Brou Lake. Many of
align with traditionally utilised camping places and as such relate
to heritage values
associated with traditional spirituality, resource collection and
travelling routes. The
Schools at Cadgee, Turlinjah, Bodalla and Nerrigundah were all attended
Aboriginal children whose families worked on farms in the area.
- ABORIGINAL CULTURALLY SENSITIVE LANDSCAPES
PROPOSED FOR THE ESC DEVELOPMENT CONTROL