Djargurd Wurrung

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Djargurd Wurrung
Regions with significant populations
Djargurd Wurrung, English
Australian Aboriginal mythology
Related ethnic groups
Gulidjan, Girai wurrung, Djab wurrung and Wada wurrung
see List of Indigenous Australian group names

The Djargurd wurrung are Indigenous Australian people who traditionally occupied the territory between Mount Emu Creek and Lake Corangamite, extending to Mount Emu and Cressy in the North, and to Cobden and Swan Marsh in the South in central Victoria and are still represented in the region. The town of Camperdown is in the middle of their territory. The territory was bordered by the Wada wurrung in the north, the Girai wurrung in the west and south west, the Gadubanud in the south, and the Gulidjan in the east.[1]

Clan System[edit]

The Djargurd wurrung people had 12 clans under a matrilineal system with a descent system based on the Gabadj (black cockatoo) and Grugidj (white cockatoo) moieties. The clans intermarried with Gulidjan, Girai wurring, Djab wurrung and Wada wurrung peoples.


The Western District Lakes, now a Ramsar site, have been a focus for the Djargurd Wurrung and Gulidjan Aboriginal people for thousands of years. There are many archaeological sites registered that include fish traps, surface scatters, middens and burial sites.

At the time of European settlement in the 1830s and 1840s the Djargurd suffered from massacres from European settlers, and also from attacks by the neighbouring Wada wurrung tribe. Dispossession from their land led to starvation and their theft of sheep resulted in murderous reprisals. In 1839 one clan, the Tarnbeere gundidj, was massacred by Frederick Taylor and others in a site that came to be known as Murdering Gully.[1]

When Framlingham Aboriginal Station was established in 1865 near Warnambool many of the surviving members of the Djargurd wurrung were forcibly relocated, however a number of elders refused to abandon their traditional country and stayed eking out a meagre living on the edge of towns like Camperdown. They were assisted by people like James Dawson, a Scotsman, who acted as guardian and supported them with his own money.[1]

In 1883 Wombeetch Puuyuun (also known as Camperdown George) died at the age of 43 and was buried in a bog outside the bounds of Camperdown Cemetery. On Dawson's return from a trip to Scotland he was shocked at where his friend had been buried and personally reburied Wombeetch in Camperdown Cemetery. He appealed for money to raise a monument, but with little public support, primarily funded the monument himself. The 7 metre obelisk was erected as a memorial to Wombeetch Puuyuun and the aborigines of the district,[2] and has been described as still inspiring today.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Clark, Ian D. (1995), "Djargurd wurrung", in Clark, Ian, Scars in the landscape: a register of massacre sites in western Victoria, 1803-1859, Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, pp. 103–118, ISBN 9780855752811.  Excerpt also published on Museum Victoria website, accessed 29 November 2008
  2. ^ Bulbeck, Chilla (April 1991). "Aborigines, memorials and the history of the frontier". Australian Historical Studies (Taylor and Francis) 25 (96): 168–178. doi:10.1080/10314619108595878. 
  3. ^ Broome, Richard (2005), "Transformations: 1850-1886: 'a miserable spadeful of ground'", in Broome, Richard, Aboriginal Victorians: a history since 1800, Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin, ISBN 9781741145694. 

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