Alternative names & spellings
In Norman Tindale's estimation the Narungga held some 2,500 square miles (6,500 km2) of tribal land on the Yorke Peninsula, running north as far as Port Broughton. Their eastern limits were around the Hummock Range. The following places all lay within Narungga tribal territory - Bute, Wallaroo, Ardrossan, Marion Bay, and Cape Spencer. Their borders with the Kaurna lay at the head of Gulf St Vincent.
The following is a description of a Narungga technique for catching snapper.
A good-sized fish being roasted, and tied up in a bundle of rushes, is fastened round the neck of a strong swimmer, so that it hangs down his back. With this he swims out to sea a mile or more, and then returns to the sandy beach, the roasted fish still hanging behind him. When near the shore, the swimmer attaches the fish to a spear stuck in the sand, where the water is about three feet deep. In the meantime the men have got ready their long nets, and the shoal of fish, as soon as it arrives on the scent of this drag, is surrounded and taken, Mr. Fowler says that he saw an enormous quantity of schnapper secured in this way on one occasion. It is a mode of fishing I have not heard of before.
History of contact
The Narungga were a nomadic people who practiced fire-stick farming to flush out wildlife and control vegetation. Their diet also included seafood; their expertise at fishing was much admired by early European settlers and a variety of fish species were often traded for tobacco and other goods.
Roughly a decade after the establishment of Adelaide in 1836, settlers began moving into Yorke Peninsula, though native memory states that, before the beginning of occupation (1847) their area was visited occasionally by sealers. At this time, it was estimated that the Narungga numbered approximately 500. Within a decade (1856), a white resident stated that their numbers had been halved. By 1880, the same observer stated that they had been reduced to less than 100. The introduction of scarlet fever and measles in the 1870s also devastated the tribe.
The British concepts of property ownership were incompatible with the Narrunga's nomadic lifestyle, resulting in the gradual displacement of the indigenous population. In 1868, the Point Pearce Aboriginal Mission was established by the Moravian missionary Julius Kühn. After ten years, the mission was largely self-sufficient, though Kühn's early success in securing the confidence of the Narungga by using his medical knowledge suffered a notable blow when 16 residents died of whooping cough and croup over several months in the winter of 1872. Many of the buildings remain today.
- tchela or bap:i. (father)
- tcha or ŋam:i (mother)
- kadli (dingo, wild dog)
- bindiri yerli /pindira (white man)
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- Liebelt, Belinda; Roberts, Amy; O'Loughlin, Clem; Milera, Doug (2016). "'We had to be off by sundown': Narungga contributions to farming industries on Yorke Peninsula (Guuranda), South Australia" (PDF). Aboriginal History. 40: 89–117.
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