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The Cadigal, also spelled as Gadigal, are a group of Aboriginal Australians who originally inhabited the area that they called "Cadi". Cadigal territory lies south of Port Jackson covering today's Sydney CBD and stretches from South Head to Petersham with part of the southern boundary lying on the Cooks River. The Cadigal language is a derivative of the Darug language.

Soon after his arrival at Port Jackson, Governor Arthur Phillip estimated the Indigenous population of the Sydney district at around 1500 people, although other estimates range from as low as 200 to as high as 4000.[1]

The Cadigal clan was estimated to have 50-80 people.[2]

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.[3]

The occupation 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 is estimated to have killed about 50% of Sydney's indigenous population, and it has been claimed that only three Cadigal people were left alive by 1791, although archaeological evidence suggests that some Cadigal people may have escaped to the Concord area and settled there.[4]

Part of the Cadigal territory is in the Marrickville local government area of Sydney in 1994 the Marrickville Aboriginal Consultative Committee was established and the Cadigal Wangal peoples website.[5][6]


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