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 of the Western district of the State of Victoria, and traditionally occupied the territory between Mount Emu Creek and Lake Corangamite.[1]



The classification of the Groups on this territory has been subject to controversy. Norman Tindale, referring to the same area, and clans, called them the Kirrae, whose lands he stated comprised in his estimate around 1,900 sq. miles of territory from Warrnambool and the Hopkins River down to the coast at Princetown with the northerly reaches at Lake Bolac and Darlington, and extending easterly beyond Camperdown.[2] The historian Ian Clark states that Tindale 'failed to acknowledge the existence' of the Djargurd wurrung, while locating them in the same area.[1] The Djagurd wurrung territory was bordered by the Wada wurrung in the north, the Dhauwurd wurrung to the west, the Girai wurrung to their south, and the Gulidjan in the east.[3]

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 twelve are as follows:-

No Clan Name Approximate Location
1 Barumbidj gundidj Lake Purrumbete
2 Djargurd balug unknown
3 Koenghegulluc Lake Colongulac and east to Mount Myrtoon
4 Korrungow werroke gundidj unknown
5 Leehoorah gundidj Mount Leura and Lakes Bullen-merri and Gnotuk
6 Mullungkil gundidj south of Lake Purrumbete, including Mount Porndon
7 Netcunde Cobrico Swamp
8 Tarnbeere gundidj eastern bank of Mount Emu Creek
9 Teerinyillum gundidj Mount Elephant
10 Uropine gundidj Darlington
11 Wane gundidj colac near Lake Elingamite
12 Worong gundidj east of Lake Elingamite


The traditional lands of the Djargurd Wurrung and Gulidjan, including the Western District Lakes, now a Ramsar site,[4] have been used by the indigenous peoples 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.[5]

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.[citation needed]

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,[6] and has been described as still inspiring today.[7]



  1. ^ a b Clark 1995, p. 103.
  2. ^ Tindale 1974, p. 205.
  3. ^ Clark 1995, p. v.
  4. ^ Hale & Butcher 2011, pp. 1–136.
  5. ^ Clark 1995, pp. 105–106.
  6. ^ Bulbeck 1991, pp. 168–178.
  7. ^ Broome 2005, pp. 166–181 p=.