The Bundjalung people are the original custodians of northern coastal areas of New South Wales, an area that includes the Bundjalung National Park and Mount Warning. (known to the Bundjalung people as Wollumbin “rainmaker”)
Bundjalung country extends from Grafton on the Clarence river in northern New South Wales, to the town of Toowoomba in southern Queensland, and down around the other side of the Great Dividing Range.
The Aboriginal tribes were not united before the 18th century, with more than 20 main dialect groups, known collectively as Bundjalung. Each dialect has a specific name of its own. Dialects include: Wahlubal, Yugambeh, Birrihn, Barryugil, Wiyabal, Minyangbal, Gidhabal, and Ngarrahngbal. Many of these names point to some characteristic peculiar to that dialect. For example, Gidhabal means ‘those who say gidha (alright)’, while Wiyabal means ‘those who say wiya (you)’.
It is thought that the term ‘Bandjalung’ was originally used to describe the dialect spoken around Bangawalbin Creek and that this name was later used to cover all dialects.
According to the oral traditions of the Bundjalung People, these areas were first settled by the Three Brothers and their descendants. The story tells of three Brothers that arrived by sea at the mouth of the Clarence River and populated the surrounding country.
To the best of knowledge, the Bundjalung people are the only ones whose dream time stories talk about arriving in Australia from elsewhere. They came from the land “at the centre of the world” when a massive catastrophe destroyed it.
One of the annual rituals of the Bundjalung people was the movement to the coast during the winter months when the mullet were plentiful. The inland peoples brought black bean seeds with them to trade for the fish. The seeds are poisonous, but become edible when carefully prepared by pounding into flour, leaching with water, and roasting.