- This article is for the Australian Indigenous group. For their language see Aboriginal language.
|aka: Dharawal, Darawal, Carawal, Turawal, Thurawal, Thurrawal, Thurrawall, Turu-wal, Turuwul, Turrubul, Turuwull
Tharawal (AIATSIS), nd (SIL)
Sydney Basin bioregion
|Location:||Sydney and Illawarra, New South Wales|
|Rivers||Georges and Shoalhaven|
The Tharawal people (also spelled Dharawal, Darawal, Carawal, Turawal, Thurawal, Thurrawal, Thurrawall, Turu-wal, Turuwul, Turrubul, Turuwull), a group of indigenous people of Australia, are those Australian Aborigines 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 south of Sydney Harbour, through Georges River, Botany Bay, Port Hacking, throughout the Illawarra Escarpment, and across areas now known as the Macarthur, Southern Highlands, and Illawarra regions, as far south as the Shoalhaven River.
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The historical artwork (rock engravings) of the Tharawal 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. There is a public viewing site of one group of engravings at Jibbon Point. 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.
It was commonly believed that there were no remaining descendants of the Tharawal people, however after the Mabo v Queensland (No 2) verdict and the Native Title Act 1993 there have been claims lodged by descendents of the Wodi Wodi 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 Tharawal tribe.
The Tharawal 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 Tharawal lifestyle can be drawn from an understanding of the kitchen rubbish left on the midden sites.
- Tharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council webpage
- Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation webpage
- Norman B. Tindale's 'Catalogue of Australian Aboriginal Tribes', South Australian Museum.
- Bibliography of Tharawal people and language resources, at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies