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Kuringgai people
aka: Ku-ring-gai, Kuring-gai, and Guringai
Kuringgai (AIATSIS), nd (SIL)[1]
IBRA 6.1 Sydney Basin.png
Sydney Basin bioregion
Language family: Pama–Nyungan
Language branch: Yuin–Kuric
Language group: Yora Language
Group dialects: Darkinjung[2]
Bioregion: Sydney Basin
Location: Sydney, Central Coast, and Newcastle, New South Wales
Coordinates: 34°S 151°E / 34°S 151°E / -34; 151Coordinates: 34°S 151°E / 34°S 151°E / -34; 151
Notable individuals
Bungaree, Cora Gooseberry

Kuringgai (also spelled Ku-ring-gai, Kuring-gai, Guringai) (IPA: [ɢuriŋɡai][3]), a group of indigenous people of Australia, are those Aboriginal Australians that were united by a common language, strong ties of kinship and survived as skilled hunter–fisher–gatherers in family groups or clans scattered along the coastal area of what is now known as the Sydney basin, in New South Wales, Australia. Their traditional territory spreads from the north of Sydney Harbour, through Lane Cove River, Middle Harbour, Pittwater, the Hawkesbury River, Broken Bay, Brisbane Water, and Central Coast to north of Tuggerah Lakes.


The indigenous people identify themselves as Guringai. In 1892, ethnographer John Fraser used the term Kuringgai (Ku̇riġgai in his phonetic notation) to refer to the people inhabiting a large stretch of the central coastline of New South Wales:[4]

The next great tribe is the Kuringgai on the sea coast. Their 'taurai' (hunting ground or territory) is known to extend north to the Macleay River, and I found that southwards it reached the Hawkesbury. then after, by examining the remains of the language of the natives about Sydney and southwards, and by other tests, I assured myself that the country thereabout was occupied by sub-tribes of the Kurringgai. [sic]

Fraser came up with the name Kuringgai being a conjunction of the native words Koori/Guri to mean black man and Ngai, meaning black woman, or belonging to.[5]


Fraser’s 1892 map. Kuringgai is marked VIII.

According to Fraser, the Kuringgai were bordered by the Wachigari and the Paikalyung to the north, the Kamalarai to the northwest, the Wiradhari to the west and the Murrinjari to the south.

However, Norman Tindale would later say in 1974 that "the Awabakal are the central one of a series of tribes to which the arbitrary term Kuringgai has been applied by Fraser." He divided the area Fraser labelled Kuringgai into several tribes, including the Tharawal, Eora, Dharuk, Darkinjang, Awabakal, Worimi, Birpai, Ngamba, and others.[6]

The clan groups are the Garigal, Cammeragal, Borregegal, Awaba, Walkeloa with hundreds more.[7]


The Darkinjung (or Guringai) language is considered the main dialect of the Kuringgai; although there are notable variances in regional areas where multiple dialects exist and there is overlap with both the Dharuk and Awabakal languages.[2][8][9]


They were hunters and gatherers within their land. The Guringai lives were dictated by the seasons and the seasonal travels throughout their lands, with great ceremony.

The Guringai still live in their traditional homelands.

Notable people[edit]


A number of things have been named after the Kuringgai, including:


  1. ^ Dousset, Laurent (2005). "Kuringgai". AusAnthrop Australian Aboriginal tribal database. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Language information: Darkinyung". Australian Indigenous Languages Database. AIATSIS. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Steele, Jeremy M. (December 2005). The aboriginal language of Sydney (PDF) (M.A.). Macquarie University. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Threlkeld, L. E. (1892). Fraser, John, ed. An Australian Language as spoken by the Awabakal the people of Awaba and Lake Macquarie (Near Newcastle, New South Wales) being an account of their Language, Traditions, and Customs. Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Printer. 
  5. ^ "Guringai history". Services. Guringai Tribal Link Aboriginal Corporation. 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  6. ^ *Tindale, Norman Barnett (1974). Aboriginal Tribes of Australia: Their Terrain, Environmental Controls, Distribution, Limits and Proper Names. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-02005-7. 
  7. ^ Kohen, James (1993). The Darug and Their Neighbours - The Traditional Aboriginal Owners of the Sydney Region. Darug Tribal Aboriginal Corporation in association with the Blacktown and District Historical Society. ISBN 0-646-13619-4. 
  8. ^ "North-coastal Sydney Aboriginal history". A history of Aboriginal Sydney. University of Sydney. 21 December 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  9. ^ See also AIATSIS:Ku-ring-gai/Guringai

Additional reading[edit]

External links[edit]