Indigenous Culture

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander guests are warned that the following information may contain images and depictions of deceased persons.

Snowy Monaro Regional Council
 acknowledges and respects that Aboriginal people are the original inhabitants of the lands we know as the Snowy Monaro region. Council recognises the Ngarigo people as the traditional custodians of the majority of the region, and acknowledges the connection of other groups such as the Walgalu, Ngunnawal and Bidhawal people. 

Archaeological surveys reveal a long and rich cultural history with significant sites throughout the region. The Monaro was heavily impacted by colonisation and many people of Ngarigo descent now live outside the area. Despite this, Ngarigo people maintain strong spiritual and cultural connections to the high country. 
Council recognises this continued connection to the land.

The history of indigenous people on the Monaro is rich and evolving story. As we continue to engage with the Aboriginal community, we learn more about their history and culture. These relationships build a deeper understanding of the people who lived here before us and allow us to share in this vibrant story. Council acknowledges that information on the physical and social boundaries of Aboriginal communities can be contentious and relies on many sources of information. It is our intention to recognise that our Indigenous history has many threads and that these threads weave together to create our contemporary understanding. 

Snowy Monaro Regional Council recognises that the information we currently have about local Indigenous history may change as more stories are shared. We welcome additional information from indigenous people, historians and anyone with reliable information to contribute to our shared story across the region. 

Further information, transcribed from Felix Mitchell's 1926 publication 'Back to Cooma', can also be found on the Monaro Pioneers website's Aboriginals on the Monaro page.The following documents give some insight into the history of Aboriginal culture on the Monaro. Please note that this information was considered accurate at the time of publication based on the information available at that time, and that information may have changed or been updated as new stories are shared. 
The Bundian Way 

A pathway of peace... 

The Bundian Way begins on the highest peak of the Australian continent at 2,228 metres and runs some 330km before it reaches the coast at Bilgalera, on Twofold Bay.

The Bundian Way is an Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council project that is developing the ancient walking track from the coast to the mountains. This walking track is older than the silk roads and was used the Aboriginal people for trading, ceremonies, family gatherings and caring for country for thousands of years.

 At many places along the route the original landscapes are still discernible and evidence of the old land management is still obvious. The Bundian Way illustrates how in the early days of European settlement, the old Aboriginal people showed the settlers the best places for their stations as well as routes through the wild country, following the pathways that had been used for thousands of years.

 The Bundian Way tells the story of country and how it has been managed through time. It tells the story of dispossession and the treatment of its first people, it educates and provides opportunities for employment and reconnection to country.

 At the second exhibition held at the Bundian Way Gallery at Delegate, “Healing our Spirit”, Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, gave a powerful speech. He praised the art and the imagination of the exhibition, its relevance to the Bundian Way, and considered what it will mean for the Aboriginal people in custody. He added, ‘And what we’re seeing with the Bundian Way is a reconciliation. It’s a mechanism. You don’t just get people waking up one day and saying, ‘Let’s do reconciliation.’ This is a track, a meeting place, that links the freshwater to the saltwater, the beaches to the mountains. People traversed that track for a lot longer than most of us can get our heads around. And it should be a track for all of us to come together now, where we can come together and understand the value of what’s happening in our age...’

For more information, please see the Master Plan below and visit the Bundian Way website.

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians.

NAIDOC Week is held nationally in the first full week of July. It is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements and is an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society.

Snowy Monaro Regional Council celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by partnering with local groups and organisations to showcase our Aboriginal heritage and future. During this week, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents are invited to share their experiences and learnings at exhibitions and events across the region.

Please contact one of Council's Community Development Officers for more information on upcoming events and initiatives.
Snowy Mountains Aboriginal Liaison Working Party 

The Snowy Mountains Aboriginal Liaison Working Party meets to consider specific projects, programs and initiatives which are relevant to Aboriginal people living in the region.

The objective of the SMALWP is to consider a range of issues including health, education, employment and tourism.

Membership of the SMALWP includes representation from Council, as well as indigenous residents of the shire and community representatives.

The SMALWP is not currently meeting regularly. Plans are underway to re-establish a new mechanism for consultation with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the context of the new LGA. 

For more information on the SMALWP, please contact Kristy Harvey on (02) 6455 1934.
Cooma Koori Interagency 

 The Cooma Koori Interagency is a community network meeting, facilitated by NSW Family & Community Services. The network aims to improve service outcomes for Indigenous people across the entire Snowy Monaro region.

 Membership of the interagency includes representation from a wide range of service providers, as well as members of the local Indigenous community. Meeting dates are not currently set.