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Darug people
aka: Dharuk, Dharug, Daruk (Tindale)[1]
Dharug, Dharruk, Dharrook, Darrook, Dharung, Broken Bay tribe (AIATSIS), nd (SIL)[2]
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)
Bioregion: Cumberland Plain,
Sydney basin
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 Darug people are a group of Aboriginal Australians that share a common language and strong ties of kinship and in pre-colonial times, survived as skilled hunters in family groups or clans scattered throughout much of what is modern-day Sydney.

The Darug were bounded by the Kuringgai to the northeast around Broken Bay, the Darkinjung to the north, the Wiradjuri to the west on the western fringe of the Blue Mountains, the Gandangara to the southwest in the Southern Highlands and the Tharawal to the southeast in the Illawarra area.

Alternate names[edit]

Other versions of the name include Daruk, Dharruk, Dharrook, Darrook, Dharug, Broken Bay tribe, and Dharung.[1][2]

History and territory[edit]

There are different views about the extent of the Darug nation. While some historians believe the coastal Eora people were a separate group to the Darug people, others believe the two groups were part of the same grouping.[3]

The territory that was indisputably Darug Boorooberongal-Warmuli (Darug Lore) was the Cumberland Plain in western Sydney, that stretches from Wisemans Ferry in the north down, around Camden in the south. Some think the Darug people extended into the foothills of the Blue Mountains, others consider that they did not extend west of the Nepean River. They likely extended into the Hills District to the east.

A strong centre of cultural attachment for the Darug people has been the "Blacks Town" (at the modern suburb of Colebee) in the Blacktown local government area (formerly Blacktown Shire). However, in September 2012 the Blacktown City Council decided to cease recognising the Darug tribe 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 Darug. According to one of the Liberal Councillors, Cr Jess Diaz, "a consensus must be reached once and for all on who composed the traditional owners apart from the Darug people".[4]

Traditionally, there was a cultural divide between the western Darug and the coastal Darug. The coastal Darug were 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 Darug were paiendra or 'tomahawk people'. They hunted kangaroos, emus and other land animals and used stone axes more extensively.[5]

Smallpox introduced in 1789 by the British settlers wiped out up to 90% of the population in some areas.[3] 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.


The Darug nation was divided up into a number of 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. Numbers in a geographic descendant clan area were kept at the lowest levels necessary for the survival of the clan. It was often the case that men and women married between the clans, and thus the members of the clans were interrelated.[citation needed]

Known Darug clans included:[citation needed]

  • Burramattagal
  • Wangal
  • Kurrajong
  • Boorooberongal
  • Cattai
  • Bidjigal
  • Gommerigal
  • Mulgoa
  • Cannemegal
  • Bool-bain-ora
  • Cabrogal
  • Muringong
  • Dural
  • Wallumettagal

Darug language[edit]

Notable Darug people[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Tindale, Norman (1974). "Daruk (NSW)". Aboriginal Tribes of Australia (online extract). South Australian Museum. Retrieved 27 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Dousset, Laurent (2005). "Daruk". AusAnthrop Australian Aboriginal tribal database. Archived from the original on 9 April 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Meadows, Elida (August 1999). "Aboriginal history of the Waverley area: A discussion paper" (PDF). Waverley City Council. pp. 3–4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 August 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Diaz, Jess (1 November 2012). "A Liberal controlled City Council of Blacktown". Kalatas Australia. p. 5. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  5. ^ Flynn, Michael (August 1997). "Holroyd history and the Silent Boundary Project" (PDF). Holroyd City Council. p. 3. Retrieved 27 August 2012. 

External links[edit]