Warrumbungle National Park Environmental Education Centre

Connect, respect, change

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First People

The Warrumbungles is at a place where three Aboriginal language groups intersect. To the north-west Wayilwan is the language of country. To the north-east, the traditional language is Gamilaraay and to the south is Wiradjuri country. People travelling through this country would no doubt have been multilingual.

The landscape of the Warrumbungles readily reveals evidence of a long human history. Stone flakes, axe grinding grooves, cave art and artifacts are all around if you are observant and adventurous. Finding these treasures for local Aboriginal community members is a bit like whitefellas looking at old family photographs. They are one aspect of their ancestral connection to place. Needless to say if any artifacts are found they need to remain exactly where they were found so future generations of local Aboriginal people have the opportunity to keep their strong sense of place intact.

Food and water were and still are abundant away from land that has been cleared. An Aboriginal diet was one of huge variety. Meats would have included kangaroo, possum, echidna, koala, reptiles such as snakes and lizards, birds including emu and ducks and a wide selection of life found in freshwater such as yabbies and fish. Comparing this list to the chicken, beef, lamb, pork and (if you are lucky) fish we have readily available today gives us a clue to the bounty this land was able to provide to its human inhabitants. Grain and meal is another group of foods where the Aboriginal diet provided far greater diversity than is available today. Flours for bread cooked in the ashes of a fire were ground from grass seeds, tree seeds, yam daisies (orchid and lily roots) and many other starchy parts of plants. Local favourite fruits are fivecorners and quandongs.

The drink of choice was clean water sometimes flavoured with blossom nectar.

Places of permanent water are a feature of the Warrumbungles with mountain springs dotted around the place. These places would have been well cared for as the connection between life and a healthy water supply was well understood.

There are many facets of the Aboriginal history of this part of western NSW and there are many stories to be told. But never think of this simply as history. The first people of this land are still here and keeping their identity strong.