Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Community

Young Gundungurra artist Isabella, who will display her artwork in the For Our Elders exhibition

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

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

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 is physical, cultural and spiritual.

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

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.” 

Aboriginal support networks, groups, and resources

Download a useful guide from Community Circles Wingecarribee.

This publication provides links and information for support organisations, service providers and community groups for Aboriginal people. 

Aboriginal Community Support Networks Wingecarribee(PDF, 2MB)

Wingecarribee Aboriginal Community Cultural Centre

Location: 1a Rainbow Rd, Mittagong, 2577

Centre bookings: Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council

Phone: 02 4226 3338

Email: admin@ilalc.org.au

Gundungurra Aboriginal Heritage Association Incorporated (GAHAI)

Aunty Sharyn Halls (Gundungurra Elder)

Email: ghal6522@bigpond.net.au  

Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council (ILALC)

Phone: 02 4226 3338

Email: ceo@ilalc.org.au 

Dhungung (food) share 

Wingecarribee Aboriginal Community Cultural Centre

1a Rainbow Rd, Mittagong, 2577


Aboriginal Women’s Yarning Group

Wingecarribee Aboriginal Community Cultural Centre

1a Rainbow Rd, Mittagong, 2577

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

Cultural experiences, performers, and tours

Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness

Djiriba Waagura

Guula Ngurra National Park

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

Platypus Dreamin

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

Advice and information

Aunty Sharyn Halls (Gundungurra Elder)

Associated to the Gundungurra Aboriginal Heritage Association Incorporated

Email: ghal6522@bigpond.net.au

Picture: Gundungurra Elder Aunty Sharyn with Council staff.


David King – Gundungurra T.O

Email: davidkingbluemtns@gmail.com 

Den Barber – Yarrabin Cultural Connections

Aboriginal Presenter on Land and Cultural Fire Burning

Email: yarrabin@hotmail.com

National Parks and Wildlife Services

Aboriginal Discovery Rangers

Phone: David Duffy 0429 680 811

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

National Parks and Wildlife Services

Bush Tucker and Medicine Gardens – Pat Hall

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


Native Bush and Medicine Plants

Wariapendi Native Nursery 


Wendy Lotter – Platypus Dreamin Aboriginal Cultural Tours

Phone: 0422 631 243

Email: platypusdreamin@gmail.com

Aboriginal Network Meetings
Wingecarribee Community Centre Advisory Committee

Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council

Phone: 02 4226 3338

Email: ceo@ilalc.org.au 

Wingecarribee Aboriginal Network 

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 2024

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander significant dates:  

26 January Survival Day
18 - 24 March Harmony Week
26 May National Sorry Day
27 May - 3 June National Reconciliation Week
3 June Mabo Day
7 - 14 July National NAIDOC Week
4 August National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children's Day
9 August International Day of the Worlds’ Indigenous People
 4 September Indigenous Literacy Day
National Reconciliation Week 2024

National Reconciliation Week 2024 logo

The week of 27 May - 3 June 2024 is National Reconciliation Week. The theme this year is 'Now More Than Ever' with a focus on support of our First Nations people. It is a call for all Australians to stand up for First Nation rights, challenge racism and create a future based on connection, respect and positive change.

The council are proudly supporting two local events taking place as part of National Reconciliation Week:

  • Brunch & Makers Market - Friday 31 May from 11.00 am - 1.30 pm. 

Free Brunch & Makers Market Tickets 

  • Free Family Fun Day - Sunday 2 June from 10.00 am - 2.00 pm

Free Family Fun Day Tickets

National Reconciliation Week 2024 - Brunch and Makers Market Event Poster - 31 May 2024     Family Fun Day Poster for National Reconciliation Week 2024 - 2 June 2024

You can find out more about National Reconciliation Week visit - Home - Reconciliation Australia

Colouring in resource for National Reconciliation Week - Colouring-A4-Sheet-print-ready.pdf (reconciliation.org.au)

    National Reconciliation Week 2024 - Colouring in page


Government legislation and organisations

Office of Local Government
Australian Institute of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies
NSW Aboriginal Land Council
NSW Department of Environment and Conservation (Aboriginal Heritage Assessment)
Aboriginal Affairs NSW
Indigenous Coordination Centre
Reconciliation Australia

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.