Aboriginal Community


Wingecarribee Shire Council acknowledges the Gundungurra and Tharawal people as the Traditional custodians of this place we now call the Wingecarribee Shire.

Wingecarribee Shire Council recognises the continuous and deep connection to their Ngurra (Country) and that this is of great cultural significance to Aboriginal people, both locally and in the region.

For Gundungurra and Tharawal people, Ngurra (Country) means everything, it's physical, cultural and spiritual, it's belonging.

We pay respect to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all First Nations people. 

Aboriginal Community Development Officer (ACDO)

The Aboriginal Community Development Officer’s role is a vital link between the Aboriginal community of the Wingecarribee and Council. The ACDO role involves promoting Council’s facilities and services to community and providing advice to Council of the issues and needs of Aboriginal communities.

Council provides a number of initiatives to promote and celebrate Aboriginal culture within the Wingecarribee Shire.

The Aboriginal Community Development Officer can be contacted at Wingecarribee Shire Council on 02 4868 0888.


Welcome to Country or Acknowledgement of Country?

What’s the difference between a Welcome to Country and an Acknowledgement of Country?

A Welcome to Country is delivered by a Traditional Owner who has been permitted to welcome visitors to their Country. Here in the Wingecarribee Shire, that’s either a Gundungurra or Tharawal person – depending on where the event or ceremony is being held.

A Welcome to Country can include a speech, story, song, dance or smoking ceremony.

An Acknowledgement of Country is an opportunity for anyone to show respect for the Traditional Owners of the land on which they meet. It can be delivered by anyone – Indigenous or non-Indigenous.

There are no set protocols or wording for an Acknowledgment of Country. Here’s a suggestion for your next event:

“I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of this land and pay my respect to Elders both past and present. I would also like to extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders present here today.”

Wingecarribee Aboriginal Community Cultural Centre

1a Rainbow Rd, Mittagong, 2577

Centre bookings and information contact: Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council

Ph: 02 4226 3338 Email: admin@ilalc.org.au

Aboriginal organisations

Gundungurra Aboriginal Heritage Association Incorporated (GAHAI)

Aunty Sharyn Halls (Gundungurra Elder)

Email: ghal6522@bigpond.net.au 

Yamanda Aboriginal Association 

Ph: 0412 466 430 Email: yamanda@live.com.au     

Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council (ILALC)

Ph: 02 4226 3338 Email: ceo@ilalc.org.au

Wingecarribee Aboriginal programs and groups

Dhungung (Food) Share

Every Thursday, 10:30 am - 12 pm

Wingecarribee Aboriginal Community Cultural Centre

1a Rainbow Rd, Mittagong, 2577fl 


Aboriginal Supported Playgroup

East Bowral Community Centre, 71 Boardman Rd, Bowral. 

For more information contact 02 4683 2776 or info@communitylinks.org.au

The Mob Walking Group

A walking group for the community; come for a yarn, walk and lunch.

When: Every Tuesday

Time: 11.30 am - 12.30 pm

For more information please contact Joyce on 02 4861 0247 or 0477 328 465.

Wingecarribee Aboriginal Men’s Group

Contact Peter 0418 223 696 or Greg Randall 0448 060 003

Aboriginal Women’s Yarning Group

Wingecarribee Aboriginal Community Cultural Centre

1a Rainbow Rd, Mittagong, 2577

Contact: Lisa Fuller - lisa@highlandscommunity.org.au

Last Friday of each month 10 am - 1 pm 

Aboriginal cultural experiences, performers and tours

Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness - https://ngaranaboriginalculture.com/

Djiriba Waagura - https://www.djiribawaagura.com/

Guula Ngurra National Park - www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/guula-ngurra-national-park

Gadhungal Murring - Raymond Timbery gadhungal.murring@outlook.com

Platypus Dreamin - www.facebook.com/Platypus-Dreamin-Aboriginal-Cultural-Education-Programs-and-Bush-walks 

Trish Levett – Rite BakAtcha Dreamin – Kalawatawarra@hotmail.com

Advice and information

1. Aunty Sharyn Halls (Gundungurra Elder)

Associated to the Gundungurra Aboriginal Heritage Association Incorporated

Email: ghal6522@bigpond.net.au

Aunty Sharyn with Council Staff

2. David King – Gundungurra T.O

Email: davidkingbluemtns@gmail.com 

3. Den Barber – Yarrabin Cultural Connections

Aboriginal Presenter on Land and Cultural Fire Burning 

Email: yarrabin@hotmail.com

4. National Parks and Wildlife Services

Aboriginal Discovery Rangers

Contact: David Duffy 0429 680 811

Email: david.duffy@environment.nsw.gov.au 

5. National Parks and Wildlife Services

Bush Tucker and Medicine Gardens – Pat Hall

Email: pat.hall@environment.nsw.gov.au 

Native Bush and Medicine Plants


6. Wendy Lotter – Platypus Dreamin Aboriginal Cultural Tours 

Telephone: 0422 631 243

Email: platypusdreamin@gmail.com

Aboriginal Network Meetings

Wingecarribee Community Centre Advisory Committee

Contact: Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council

Ph: 02 4226 3338  Email: ceo@ilalc.org.au

When: Quarterly

Wingecarribee Aboriginal Network

Meetings last Tuesday of each month 10 am - 12 pm

Email:  Jeanne.duffy@sectorconnect.org.au

Local Aboriginal culture and heritage

The Wingecarribee Shire Council acknowledges the Gundungurra and “Tharawal” or “Dharawal” (as it is referred to in historical records) people as the traditional custodians of this place we now call the Wingecarribee Shire.

There is a strong association to the Wingecarribee, Wollondilly and Nattai rivers. These rivers are connected to their culture, dreaming and songlines.

A Dreamtime creation story, Gurangatch and Mirragan, speaks about how this whole countryside came into being. The story describes an almighty struggle between two ancestral creator spirits, one a giant eel-like creature, Gurangatch, an incarnation of the ancestral rainbow serpent, and the other, a large native cat or quoll, Mirragan.

Aboriginal Frog Story

In spite of the impact of European settlement of Australia, the Gundungurra and Dharawal Aboriginal heritage has not been extinguished. The remains of prehistoric and historic Aboriginal occupation exists throughout the Southern Highlands.

Aboriginal Frog Story

State Government records indicate that there are over 400 significant Aboriginal sites within the Shire, including 86 sites or objects that exist in the vicinity of Council-managed land or roadside reserves.

There is one sacred Aboriginal Place in Wingecarribee Shire, called Nungungnungulla (Jubilee Rocks). This Aboriginal cultural heritage site was declared by the State Government as the 100th Aboriginal Place in NSW. Nungungnungulla is a significant Aboriginal landmark in the Gundungurra cultural landscape, where Aboriginal engravings, paintings and stencils, grinding grooves, scarred trees and campsites occur. It is a teaching place for educating children about Dreamtime creation stories, Aboriginal culture and its associated values and practices.

Wingecarribee Shire Council recognises that by acknowledging our past, we are laying the groundwork for a future which embraces all Australians; a future based on mutual respect and shared responsibility for our land.

Significant dates 2023

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Significant Dates:  

26 January Survival Day
20-26 March Harmony Week
26 May National Sorry Day
27 May - 3 June National Reconciliation Week
3 June Mabo Day
2 July - 9 July National NAIDOC Week
4 August National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children's Day
9 August International Day of the Worlds’ Indigenous People
 6 September Indigenous Literacy Day


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags

Aboriginal flag

The Aboriginal flag was recognised under Federal legislation, as was the Torres Strait Islands flag, in July 1995. The Aboriginal flag was first displayed on 12 July 1971, National Aborigines' Day at Victoria Square in Adelaide. It was also used at the 'Tent Embassy' in Canberra in 1972.

Designed by Aboriginal Elder Harold Thomas in 1971, this flag symbolises Aboriginal identity. Yellow represents the sun (giver of life) and yellow ochre. Red represents the red earth (the relationship to the land) and the red ochre used in ceremonies. Black represents the Aboriginal people.

The flag is flown or displayed permanently at Aboriginal centres throughout Australia. It is popularly recognised as the flag of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and should only be flown by other Australians when permission has been granted.

Torres Strait Islander flag

The flag, designed by Islander Mr Bernard Namok, was adopted in 1992. Green represents the islands, blue the sea and black the local Melanesian people. A stylised dancer's head-dress known as a DARI, and a five pointed star appear on the flag. The star alludes to the five main island zones and is sometimes interpreted as a symbol of the 'Coming of the Light' in Christianity.