From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Darug)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Dharug people
aka Dharug, Dharruk, Dharrook, Darrook, Dharung, Broken Bay tribe[1]
IBRA 6.1 Sydney Basin.png
Sydney Basin bioregion
Language family:Pama–Nyungan
Language branch:Yuin–Kuric
Language group:Dharug
Group dialects:Dharuk, Gamaraygal, Iora
Area (approx. 6,000 sq. km)
Location:Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Coordinates:33°35′S 150°35′E / 33.583°S 150.583°E / -33.583; 150.583Coordinates: 33°35′S 150°35′E / 33.583°S 150.583°E / -33.583; 150.583[1]
Mountains:Blue Mountains
Rivers:Cooks, Georges, Hawkesbury, Lane Cove, Nepean, Parramatta
Notable individuals
Anthony Fernando

The Dharug or Darug people, formerly known as the Broken Bay tribe, are an Aboriginal Australian people, who share strong ties of kinship and, in pre-colonial times, lived as skilled hunters in family groups or clans, scattered throughout much of what is modern-day Sydney.

The Dharug, originally a Western Sydney people, were bounded by the Kuringgai to the northeast around Broken Bay, the Darkinjung to the north, the Wiradjuri to the west on the eastern fringe of the Blue Mountains, the Gandangara to the southwest in the Southern Highlands, the Eora to the east[2] and the Tharawal to the southeast in the Illawarra area.

Darug language[edit]

The Dharug language, now not commonly spoken, is generally considered one of two dialects, the other being the language spoken by the neighbouring Eora, constituting a single language.[3][4] The word myall, a pejorative word in Australian dialect denoting any Aboriginal person who kept up a traditional way of life,[5] originally came from the Dharug language term mayal, which denoted any person hailing from another tribe.[6]


Norman Tindale reckoned Dharug lands as encompassing 2,300 square miles (6,000 km2), taking in the mouth of the Hawkesbury River, and running inland as far as Mount Victoria. It took in the areas around Campbelltown, Liverpool, Camden, Penrith and Windsor.[1]

Social organisation[edit]

Traditionally, there was a cultural divide between the western Dharug and the Eora, whom they call the coastal Dharug, katungal or "sea people". They built canoes, and their diet was primarily seafood, including fish and shellfish from Sydney Harbour, Botany Bay and their associated rivers. The inland Dharug were paiendra or "tomahawk people". They hunted kangaroos, emus and other land animals, and used stone axes more extensively.[7]


The Dharug nation was divided up into a number of woodland clans who each tended to live in a certain geographic area. This geographic area would also house descendant clans. Each clan typically included 50 to 100 people. According to James Kohen, they numbered 15:[8]

  • (1) Bediagal
  • (2) Bididal
  • (3) Boolbainora
  • (4) Burreberongal
  • (5) Burramattagal
  • (6) Cabragal
  • (7) Cannemegal
  • (8) Cattai
  • (9) Gommerigal
  • (10) Kurrajong
  • (11) Mulgoa
  • (12) Murringong
  • (13) Tugagal[a]
  • (14) Wandeandegal
  • (15) Warrawarry

History of contact[edit]

Smallpox, introduced in 1789 by the British settlers, wiped out up to 90% of the population in some areas.[9] They lived in the natural caves and overhangs in the sandstone of the Hawksbury region, although some did choose to make huts out of bark, sticks and branches.

Recent controversy[edit]

A strong centre of cultural attachment for the Dharug people has been the "Blacks Town" (at the modern suburb of Colebee) in the Blacktown local government area. However, in September 2012 the City of Blacktown decided to cease recognising the Dharug people as the traditional owners of the area. The council also passed a motion, opposed by some councillors, to begin a process to consider changing the name "Blacktown". An online petition was launched calling for the recognition of the Dharug people in 2012.[10]

In 2020, the Hills Shire Council, whose local government area covers Dharug land, caused controversy by rejecting requests to include an Acknowledgement of Country at its meetings. The Hills Shire Council is the only Sydney local council that does not include an Acknowledgement of Country at its meetings.[11]

Notable Dharug people[edit]

  • Kurtley Beale, Australian professional rugby union player
  • Anthony Fernando, early twentieth century activist
  • Daniel Moowattin, third Australian Aboriginal person to visit England
  • Marion Leane Smith, only Australian Aboriginal woman known to have served in the First World War
  • Yarramundi, Boorooberongal clansman, whose daughter Maria Lock and son Colebee have a significant role in early assimilation history
    • Maria Lock, Aboriginal Australian landowner in colonial times

Alternative names[edit]

  • Broken Bay tribe
  • Dharruk, Dharrook, Dhar'rook, Darrook, Dharug

Source: Tindale 1974, p. 193

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alternative spelling Toongagal, as per Parramatta River article.


  1. ^ a b c Tindale 1974, p. 193.
  2. ^ Mossfield 2000, p. 157.
  3. ^ Dixon 2002, p. xxxv.
  4. ^ Troy 1992, p. 145.
  5. ^ Wilson & O'Brien 2003, p. 63, n.26.
  6. ^ Hughes 1989, p. 354.
  7. ^ Flynn 1997, p. 3.
  8. ^ Mossfield 2000, p. 158.
  9. ^ Petersen, Chen & Schlagenhauf-Lawlor 2017, p. 5.
  10. ^ Diaz 2012, p. 5.
  11. ^ Xiao 2020.


External links[edit]