Gumbaynggir is classified as one of the two Gumbaynggiric languages of the Pama–Nyungan family. In 1986 the Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative was established by Gumbaynggirr elders to revive their language and hand it on. Language classes began in 1997, and by 2010 some several hundred people had some partial grasp of the language.
The Gumbaynggirr lands extend over an estimated 2,300 sq. miles covering an area of the Mid North Coast from the Nambucca River to as far north as the Clarence River (Grafton), and eastward to the Pacific coast. Norman Tindale specified its limits as bounded by the lower course of Nymboida River, stating that the territory ran toward Urunga, Coff Harbour, and Bellingen. It included South Grafton and Glenreagh. It took in the coastal strip south from near One Tree Point, Woolgoolga and Nambucca Heads. The thin coastal zone from Coffs Harbour to Evans Head was Yaygir territory.
To their north were the twenty groups speaking various dialects of the Bandjalang. The Yugambal were to their west and the Nganyaywana/Anēwan in the environs of (Armidale). Their southern boundaries met with those of the Djangadi and Ngamba.
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. Three decades later, loggers began to work their way up through the Orara River cedar stands in the 1870s, and in clearing the land, opened up the prospect of selectors to squat on the tribal territories in the early 1880s. Soon after, in that same decade, a shepherd was murdered in the area and a hunting party was dispatched to exact revenge, resulting in the Red Rock Massacre. The slaughter started at Blackadder Creek where the Gumbaynggirr were camping. Mounted troopers entered the camp and began shooting. Those who fled were tracked down to the Corindi Creek where more were shot. Those who survived were driven to the headland and herded off the rocks into the sea. The hunters kept shooting at the swimmers, but some managed to hide in an underground cave and make their way to Corindi Lake further south. One of the survivors was the present day elder Tony Perkins' grandmother, who crouched down in a thicket of bulrushes with a child in her arms.
The Gumbaynggirr, after a court battle lasting two decades, had its right to claim much of the reserve around the site in 2014.
Today current Gumbaynggirr population in the area of this tribe is about 18.000.
The Gumbaynggir are an active people who recently represented themselves at the "New Way" Sovereignty Summit Canberra Conference convened by 1972 Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Four last living Leaders and Gamilaraay elected Sovereign Spokesman Michael Anderson.
- Giinagay (hello).
- Yaam darruy ngiina gaduyaygu (It's good to meet you).
- Yaarri yarraang. (goodbye).
- Kombaingheri, Kombinegherry, Kumbangerai, Koombanggary, Koombanggherry, Koombainga
- Coombangree, Coombyngura, Coombyngara, Coombargaree, Kombinegherry
- Gumbainggar, Gunbainggar, Gumbaingar, Guinbainggiri
- Coombagoree, Gumbanggar
- Bellinger tribe, Bellingen tribe
- Nimboy (a horde)
- Woolgoolga (a horde)
- Orara (name of a river).
Notable Gumbaynggirr people
- Gary Foley, a Gumbaynggirr activist, academic, writer and actor
- Loretta Kelly, an Aboriginal law academic
- Aden Ridgeway, a former Australian Senator who served from 1999 to 2005
- Greg Inglis, an Aboriginal, Rugby League player
- Troy Cassar-Daley, an Aboriginal Country Music singer-songwriter from Halfway Creek/Grafton NSW. Born 1969.
- Emma Donovan, an Aboriginal singer and songwriter (Gumbaynggirr heritage from mother's side)
- the word is said by Gumbaynggir restaurateur Clayton Donovan to be pronounced jasrnee
- Muurrbay 2017.
- Hobson 2010, p. 107.
- Somerville & Perkins 2010, p. 159.
- Newton 2016, p. 212.
- Tindale 1974.
- Eades 1979, p. 249.
- Lunney, Wells & Miller 2016, p. 1.
- Prentis 2011, p. 100.
- Somerville & Perkins 2010, pp. 24–32.
- Somerville & Hartley 2013, p. 145.
- Stone 2012, p. 14.
- Grewal 2014.
- Aboriginal Summit.
- Poole & Williams 2011.
- "13/01/10: Call to an Aboriginal Summit in Australia". WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia). Archived from the original on 11 April 2010. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
- Eades, Diana (1979). "Gumbaynggir". In Dixon, Robert M. W.; Blake, Barry J. Handbook of Australian Languages. 1. John Benjamins Publishing. pp. 243–360. ISBN 978-9-027-20512-4.
- Grewal, Jessica (1 February 2014). "Aboriginal Land Council wins claim on Red Rock reserve". The Daily Examiner.
- Hobson, John Robert (2010). Re-awakening Languages: Theory and Practice in the Revitalisation of Australia's Indigenous Languages. Sydney University Press. ISBN 978-1-920-89955-4.
- Lunney, Daniel; Wells, Antares; Miller, Indrie (2016). "An ecological history of the Koala Phascolarctos cinereus in Coffs Harbour and its environs, on the mid-north coast of New South Wales, c.1861-2000". Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales: 1–48.
- "Muurrbay". Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative. 2016.
- Newton, John (2016). The Oldest Foods on Earth: A History of Australian Native Foods with Recipes. NewSouth. ISBN 978-1-742-24226-2.
- Poole, Fiona; Williams, Gary (7 November 2011). "Gumbaynggirr language". ABC News.
- Prentis, Malcolm David (2011). Concise Companion to Aboriginal History. Rosenberg. ISBN 978-1-921-71961-5.
- Somerville, Margaret; Perkins, Tony (2010). Singing the Coast. Aboriginal Studies Press. ISBN 978-0-855-75711-3.
- Somerville, Margaret; Hartley, Laura (2013). "A Space In-between: Red Rock". Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature: 142–148.
- Stone, Derrick (2012). Walks, Tracks and Trails of New South Wales. Csiro Publishing. ISBN 978-0-643-10692-5.
- Tindale, Norman Barnett (1974). "Kumbainggiri (NSW)". Aboriginal Tribes of Australia: Their Terrain, Environmental Controls, Distribution, Limits, and Proper Names. Australian National University Press. ISBN 978-0-708-10741-6.