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Gumbaynggir (also 'Kumbainggar') are an Australian Aboriginal group of the Coffs Harbour, New South Wales area. The Gumbaynggirr lands cover an area of the Mid North Coast from the Nambucca River to as far north as the Clarence River (Grafton), west to Armidale and eastward to the Pacific coast, making the Gumbaynggirr tribe one of the largest in NSW.[1] Evidence indicates people have lived in the area for many thousands of years.

Their neighbours to the south are the Dunghutti (Kempsey), to the north, the Bundjalung (Byron Bay area) and to the west, the Ngarabal (Glen Innes) and Nganyaywana (Anaiwan) (Armidale).[2]

The Garby Elders are a tribal group who recognise the lands and seas from Moonee northward along the coast past Wooli and inland to the east bank of the Orara River. Descendants of the original people still live in this area today. Arrawarra Headland, which lies at the heart of the Garby Elders’ country, is a one-hour walk from the camps at Corindi Beach.[3]


Clement Hodgkinson was the first European to make contact with the local Aboriginal community when he explored the upper reaches of the Nambucca and Bellinger Rivers in March 1841.

The Garby Elders speak of the regretful interactions between their people and the Europeans, the most notable being the Red Rock Massacre of the 1880s. Europeans are said to have chased the Gumbaynggirr people from their camp at the river to the headland, where many innocent people lost their lives. Red Rock is referred to as ‘Blood Rock’ by the Garby Elders, who regard this as an extremely sacred site and a place for reflection. A memorial has been established on the headland to mark the event and recognise the brutality that occurred at the site. As land was given as freehold to the new settlers, and as fences, farms and houses were constructed, Gumbaynggirr people found it more and more difficult to travel from camp to camp. Many Gumbaynggirr people were forced onto Missions and Reserves. The Garby Elders remained free, however, and found ways to stay on the ‘other side of the fence’ in no-man’s-land.[3]

The Gumbaynggir are an active people who recently represented themselves at the "New Way" Sovereignty Summit Canberra Conference convened by 1972 Tent Embassy. Four last living Leaders and Gumilaroi elected Sovereign Spokesman Michael Anderson.[4]


Main article: Kumbainggar language

Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative began in 1986, when Gumbaynggirr elders got together to revive their language and hand it down. Muurrbay means 'white fig tree' in the Gumbaynggirr language. The centre does research and teaches the language in the surrounding areas, its aim being to help revive and strengthen traditions, culture and self-esteem through language.[5]

Current population[edit]

Today current Gumbaynggirr population in the area of this tribe is about 18.000.

Notable Gumbaynggirr people[edit]

Troy Cassar-Daley ,An Aboriginal Country Music Singer songwriter from Halfway Creek/Grafton NSW. Born 1969.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Indigenous Language Interactive Map". ABC Online. Retrieved 2015-04-18. 
  3. ^ a b "Fact Sheet 1 Gumbaynggirr Nation" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-04-18. 
  4. ^ "13/01/10: Call to an Aboriginal Summit in Australia". WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia). Archived from the original on April 11, 2010. Retrieved 2015-04-18. 
  5. ^ "Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative". Retrieved 2015-04-18. 

External links[edit]