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This article is for the Australian Indigenous group. For their language see Tharawal language.

Dharawal people
aka: Dharawal, Darawal, Carawal, Turawal, Thurawal, Thurrawal, Thurrawall, Turu-wal, Turuwul, Turrubul, Turuwull
Tharawal (AIATSIS), nd (SIL)[1]
IBRA 6.1 Sydney Basin.png
Sydney Basin bioregion
Language family:Pama–Nyungan
Language branch:Yuin–Kuric
Language group:Yora
Group dialects:Tharawal[2]
Bioregion:Sydney Basin
Location:Sydney and Illawarra, New South Wales
Coordinates:34°S 151°E / 34°S 151°E / -34; 151Coordinates: 34°S 151°E / 34°S 151°E / -34; 151
RiversGeorges and Shoalhaven
Notable individuals
Traditional lands of Australian Aboriginal tribes around Sydney, New South Wales.[a]

The Dharawal people are an indigenous people of Australia, are those Australian Aboriginals that are 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.


Tharawal means cabbage palm.[3]

the Tharawal people or the dharawal langue preffers to the dharwl


According to Norman Tindale, the Tharawal's traditional lands encompass some 450 square miles (1,200 km2) from the south of Sydney Harbour, through Georges River, Botany Bay, Port Hacking and south beyond the Shoalhaven River to the Beecroft Peninsula. Their inland extent reaches Campbelltown and Camden.[4]


The Gweagal were also known as the "Fire Clan". They were the people to first make contact with Captain Cook.


The historical artwork (rock engravings) of the Dharawal people is visible on the sandstone surfaces throughout their language area and charcoal and ochre paintings, drawings and hand stencils can be found on hundreds of rock surfaces and in the many dozens of rock shelters and overhangs in that area of land.[citation needed] There is a public viewing site of one group of engravings at Jibbon Point, showing a whale and a wallaby, celebrating successful hunts and whale strandings.[5] Those engravings are marred by recent European inclusions. The original Jibbon point engravings (pecked and abraided petroglyphs) show a pod of killer whales hunting a seal. The leading whale is shown as a scarified and initiated animal indicating his status as a totemic spirit of high esteem.[citation needed]

It has been claimed that there were no remaining descendants of the Dharawal people, however after the Mabo v Queensland verdict and the Native Title Act 1993 there have been claims lodged by descendants of the Wodiwodi Clan who claim to have survived the early decimations and gradually moved back into the areas formally occupied by other clans. These Wodi Wodi clansmen are claiming lineage to the Dharawal tribe.

The Dharawal people lived mainly by the produce of local plants, fruits and vegetables and by fishing and gathering shell fish products. The men also hunted land mammals and speared fish. The women collected the vegetable foods and were well known for their fishing and canoeing prowess. There are a large number of shell middens still visible in the areas around the southern Sydney area and a glimpse of the Dharawal lifestyle can be drawn from an understanding of the kitchen rubbish left on the midden sites.[citation needed]

Alternative names[edit]

  • Darawad
  • Carawal. (Pacific islands phonetic system, c had the value of th)
  • Turawal
  • Thurawal
  • Thurrawal
  • Thurrawall
  • Turuwal
  • Turuwul
  • Turrubul
  • Turuwull
  • Ta-ga-ry. (tagara = north)
  • Five Islands tribe[4]


  1. ^ This map is indicative only



  • Dousset, Laurent (2005). "Tharawal". AusAnthrop (Australian Aboriginal tribal database). Archived from the original on 16 October 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  • Goodall, Heather; Cadzow, Allison (2014). "Gogi". Dictionary of Sydney. Dictionary of Sydney Trust. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  • "Language information: Dharawal". AIATSIS. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  • Organ, Michael K.; Speechley, Carol (1997). "Illawarra Aborigines - an Introductory History". In Hagan, J. S.; Wells, A. (eds.). A History of Wollongong. University of Wollongong Press. pp. 7–22.
  • Ridley, William (1875). Kámilarói, and other Australian languages (PDF). Sydney: T. Richards, government printer.
  • Tindale, Norman Barnett (1974). "Tharawal(NSW)". Aboriginal Tribes of Australia: Their Terrain, Environmental Controls, Distribution, Limits, and Proper Names. Australian National University Press. ISBN 978-0-708-10741-6.
  • Watt, Bruce (2014). The Shire: A journey through time. China: Everbest. p. 104. ISBN 9780646920191.

External links[edit]