From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Cadigal people
aka: Gadigal
Caddiegal (Tindale)[1]
Language family:Pama–Nyungan
Language branch:Yuin-Kuric
Language group:Dharug
Group dialects:Cadigal
Area (approx. 700 km2 (270 sq mi)[1])
Bioregion:Sydney basin
Location:Eastern suburbs, Inner West, Port Jackson
Coordinates:33°50′S 151°5′E / 33.833°S 151.083°E / -33.833; 151.083[1]
RiversCooks, Parramatta
Other geological:Port Jackson
Notable individuals

The Cadigal, also spelled as Gadigal and Caddiegal,[1] are a group of indigenous Australians whose traditional lands are located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The Cadigal originally inhabited the area that they called "Cadi" that lies south of Port Jackson covering today's Sydney central business district and stretches from South Head to Petersham with part of the southern boundary lying on the Cooks River.

The Cadigal were coastal people who were dependent on the harbour for providing most of their food. They were one of seven clans living in coastal Sydney who spoke a common language and have become known as the Eora people. "Eora" simply means "people" or "of this place" in their language.[2] The Cadigal language was likely a dialect of the Dharug language.

European history[edit]

Soon after his arrival at Port Jackson, Governor Arthur Phillip estimated the indigenous population of the Sydney district at around 1,500 people, although other estimates range from as low as 200 to as high as 4,000.[3] The Cadigal clan was estimated to have 50-80 people.[2]

The colonisation of the Sydney area by the British and the subsequent introduction of European diseases including smallpox decimated the Eora people and their neighbours. The disastrous 1789 smallpox epidemic was estimated to have killed about 53% of Sydney's indigenous population,[4][a] and it was claimed that only three Cadigal people were left alive sometime in 1791, although archaeological evidence suggests that some Cadigal people may have escaped to the Concord area and settled there.[5]

Part of the Cadigal territory is in the Inner West local government area of Sydney. In 1994 the Marrickville Aboriginal Consultative Committee was established and the Cadigal/Wangal peoples' website.[6][7]

Gadigal elder Allen Madden estimates that several hundred Eora people, including at least a hundred Gadigal people in his own family, live in Sydney today.[8][9]

Popular culture[edit]

Australian band "Midnight Oil" included a song "Gadigal Land" as a single in their The Makarrata Project mini-album project.[10] The song includes a verse written and spoken by Gadigal poet Joel Davison.[11] A statement from Sony Music Australia explained: "It is a provocative recount of what happened in this place, and elsewhere in Australia, since 1788".[12]

On 5 December 2020 at the international rugby union match between Australia and Argentina in Sydney, a version of the Australian national anthem was sung first in the Eora language by Wiradjuri woman Olivia Fox and the Australian Wallabies, followed by the English version. This was the first time the anthem had been sung in an Australian indigenous language at a Wallabies match.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ This epidemic is unlikely to have been a natural event. see, Warren (2013) doi 10.1080/14443058.2013.849750 [After Cook] and coinciding with Colonisation Archived 25 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine



  • Brandle, Lars (7 August 2020). "Midnight Oil return with politically-charged "Gadigal Land": Stream it now". Billboard. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  • "Camperdown". University of Technology Sydney. Archived from the original on 31 August 2007. Retrieved 24 May 2007.
  • Cumpston, J. H. L. (1914). The History of Small-Pox in Australia, 1788-1908. Melbourne: Government Printer, Government of Australia.
  • Hocking, Rachael (7 August 2020). "The story behind the Gadigal poetry on Midnight Oil's latest track". NITV. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  • "Home". Cadigal-Wangal Aboriginal Marrickville Website. Archived from the original on 19 May 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  • "Indigenous Heritage". Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  • Maloon, Natacha (7 August 2020). "Midnight Oil release their first new song in 20 years, "Gadigal Land"". 9Honey. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  • "Marrickville Aboriginal Consultative Committee (MACC)". Marrickville Council. Archived from the original on 19 May 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  • Newman, Martin (8 July 2017). "Gadigal people have a unique affinity with Sydney's harbour and lands". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  • Smyth, Terry (15 February 2009). "First Contact: A Contemporary Aboriginal Perspective". The Sun Herald. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  • Tindale, Norman (1974). "Eora (NSW)". Aboriginal Tribes of Australia. South Australian Museum. Retrieved 22 July 2017.

External links[edit]