Goreng Goreng

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The Goreng Goreng are an indigenous people of Queensland and also a language group. The Goreng Goreng area is between Baffle Creek to Agnes Water in the north, extending westerly as far as Kroombit Tops.


Gureng gureng is member of the Waka-Kabic subgroup of the Pama–Nyungan languages. The word gurang means 'no', and, replicated, was used as a marker for the people.[1] Despite the tribe's relative proximity to Rockhampton, Gureng gureng language had strong affinities to languages to its south such as Wakka Wakka and Gubbi Gubbi, an affinity that was also cultural.[2]


Map of Traditional Lands of Aboriginal Australians around Brisbane.

The precise borders of traditional Goreng Goreng lands have been disputed. Walter Roth, while collecting data on their language in the later 19th century, placed them in Miriam Vale, where their main camp was at that time.[3] Norman Tindale distinguished them from a Goeng people and defined their land as extending over 2,300 square miles (6,000 km2) and embracing the eastern bank of the upper Burnett River from Mundubbera north to Monto and Many Peaks.[4] It is possible that a confusion arose, taking two distinct dialect forms of the one cultural complex, to denote distinct and separate realities, with the Gureng Gureng taken to be an inland tribe, and the Goeng (Guweng guweng)[a] denoting their affines on the coast.[1][5] A recent survey of the available evidence concludes that the Goreng goring's lands encompassed the 'whole of the area from Bundaberg to Gladstone east of the ranges.[6][b]

Society and culture[edit]

The Gureng gureng were divided into several clans, such as the Wakgun. Traditional lore was transmitted at a djaparlagin or a 'singing corroboree'.[8]

History of contact[edit]

The Upper Burnett area first began to be settled by colonists in the 1840s. Grazing land was not available further down the river for some decades. Hostilities broke out as land seized for grazing denied aboriginals access to their food resources, and clashes were frequent, leading to several massacres in the Miriam Vale area.[9] It is estimated that between 1847 and 1853, 28 squatters and shepherds were killed as the Burdekin people resisted the onset of the occupation. On each occasion, punitive raids were undertaken to punish the tribes, causing substantial loss of life among the latter. The severity of retaliation was sufficiently drastic to lead the Colonial Office to place the Burnett area's aborigines under official protection by the Native Mounted Police.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Often called in the old literature the Meeroni, Maroonee, Meerooni people[2]
  2. ^ Contemporary Goreng goring state that their lands 'extend(ed) from the Mt Larcom area north of Gladstone, south through the Burnett River drainage to include Gin Gin, the Many Peaks Range and Bundaberg, and extend at least as far as the Elliott River. The Dawes Range forms the western boundary at one point, though there is some doubt about the western extent of Gureng Gureng in the southern portion of their territory.'[7]


  1. ^ a b Breen 2016, p. 140.
  2. ^ a b Ulm 2006, p. 23.
  3. ^ Breen 2016, p. 139.
  4. ^ Tindale 1974.
  5. ^ Dixon 2002, p. xxxiv.
  6. ^ Jolly 1994, p. 3.
  7. ^ Jolly 1994, p. 4.
  8. ^ Fredericks & Best 2014, p. 3.
  9. ^ Ulm 2006, p. 24.
  10. ^ Jolly 1994, p. 10.


  • Breen, Gavan (2016). "Walter Roth and the Study of Aboriginal Languages in Queensland". In McDougall, Russell; Davidson, Iain (eds.). The Roth Family, Anthropology, and Colonial Administration. Routledge. pp. 133–156. ISBN 978-1-315-41728-8.
  • Dixon, Robert M. W. (2002). Australian Languages: Their Nature and Development. Volume 1. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-47378-1.
  • Fredericks, Bronwyn; Best, Odette (2014). "Introduction". In Fredericks, Bronwyn; Best, Odette (eds.). Yatdjuligin. Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–6. ISBN 978-1-107-62530-3.
  • Jolly, Lesley (1994). Gureng Gureng: A Language Program Feasibility Study (PDF). University of Queensland.
  • Tindale, Norman (1974). Aboriginal Tribes of Australia, Korenggoreng (QLD). Australian National University Press.
  • Ulm, Sean (2006). "The study region: the southern Curtis Coast". In Ulm, Sean (ed.). Coastal Themes: An Archaeology of the Southern Curtis Coast, Queensland. Australian National University Press. pp. 13–35. ISBN 978-1-920-94296-0. JSTOR j.ctt2jbjh7.6.