Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Recognition for NSW Aboriginal site

A 57-hectare parcel of land between the Murrumbidgee River and Yanga Creek known as Poonyea has been recognised as an Aboriginal Place.

Heritage NSW’s Executive Director, Sam Kidman said Aboriginal place declarations were a conservation tool and advance the recognition, protection and understanding of Aboriginal cultural values throughout the state.

“The island (Poonyea) Aboriginal Reserve Aboriginal Place is particularly significant,” Mr Kidman said.

“It is the resting place of several Aboriginal ancestors including a Nguloongurra or Clever man – a traditional healer and spiritual leader.”

He said the land, near Balranald, became home for up to 30 Aboriginal families displaced in the late 1800s.

“A number of Aboriginal family groups have maintained their cultural connection to the area since that time,” Mr Kidman said.

Mutthi Mutthi Elder and Wamba Wamba man, Uncle Daniel Kelly said, “The Island is a very spiritual place because of the burials there and stories handed down of people connected to that place.”

In the early 20th century, there was limited and irregular government support for housing and rations.

Aboriginal people constructed their own homes, managed livestock, and worked on nearby properties such as Yanga Station. People lived off the bush and the food it provided such as duck, yellowbelly, catfish, cod, mussels, and crayfish.

The Murray family leased the island from the 1930s and made and sold charcoal as an enterprise. Traces of the Murray family home, garden, yards, campsites, and other buildings are still visible.

Further information can be found on the Heritage NSW website.

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