The Githabal and Ngarakwal [Nganduwal] are part of the ‘Yoocum Yoocum’ Moiety
The East Coast ‘Keepers’of the Feathered Serpent / Rainbow Serpent Traditions of the ancient ‘Bird Tribes’ of Australia…
The ancestral lands of these people are located in some of the most beautiful [and expensive] real estate in the entire country…..from north of the famous Surfer Paradise to south of Byron Bay….it really is nothing short of a miracle that the traditional totemic culture and lore of these ancient tribes survived the relentless invasion of crown colonialists. But survive [and thrive] they did…Its an amazing story of keeping the embers of an ancient fire alive despite blatant attempts to extinguish it forever. But more on that subject later. Right now here is some of what past experts have recorded about the Ngarakwal Githabal people and how they fit into the ‘cultural block’ of the most eastern moiety of this ancient land
One has to remember that the ancestral peoples didn’t write their language, and it wasn’t until the first studies by post-colonial anthropologists and academics that the original oral traditions became text. Translations were based on a somewhat myopic perspective of the conquerors and most of the information was collected from surviving tribal peoples who were either enslaved or incarcerated in those times.
Anthropologist Radcliffe-Brown refers to this same cultural bloc as the Yukum or Yukumbil tribe;
Kidjabal was Radcliffe Browns way of recording the tribal dialect of Githabal….many and various versions of spellings occur throughout the records….here is what he had to say about the Githabal and Ngarakbal peoples…..
“This large tribe, named in it’s negative [yukum = No] occupying the region of the Richmond and Clarence Rivers in the north of NSW and extending over the Qld Border. Their country extends about 100 miles north and south and about 80 miles east and west. Within the north there are considerable local differences of dialect, and a number of the sub-tribes are recognised. The sub-tribe about which I have most information is the Kidjabal of the country at the head of the Clarence River “…Radcliffe Brown 1929A:400
And then there was Archilbald Metson. He was, at one point in his career, the administrator of the Aboriginal Protection Board. This was a Police/Crown administrated board that governed all the Aboriginal Missions and Labour farms…..
“All the Tribes from Nerang to the Clarence spoke variations of the great “Yoocum-Yoocum” dialect [Yoocumbah], which went west to New England and down to the head of the Condamine at Warwick, where it joined the Wacca-Wacca of the Darling Downs”…Metson 1894
The “Yoocum-Yoocum dialect which extended from the Logan River south to midway between the Clarence and the Belinger River, and all New England from Armidale to near Warwick, whence it was joined by the Wacca-Wacca of the Darling Downs, the dialect which came down the north side of the Brisbane River to the sea and Toorbul Point and down the Burnett to the sea at Bundaberg”..Metson 1923
“On Nerang Creek at that time [1869-70] was a Tweed river blackfellow called Tulaman, afterwards killed in a myall row where bad rum played a leading part in the programme….Tullman was my sole companion in a ten days’ tour on the MacPherson Range. He belonged to the Brunswick “Minyahgo-Wallo”, who extended from the Nerang to the “Amburra” blacks on the Richmond and the “Wadjie Wadjie” tribe of the Clarence”..Metson
And then there was the Rev. Hugh Livingstone, a Presbyterian minister who resided in the Richmond District for Ten years between 1876 and 1886 [Rowland et al 2001] In 1892 Livingstone published a paper entitled
‘A short grammar and vocabulary of the dialect spoken by the Minyug [Minyung] people on the North East Coast of NSW’. The contents of this paper are generally well known, and have been extensively quoted and cited in the literature [ see for example Sharpe 1985, Steels 1983, Crowley 1978]. According to Livingstone, the people occupying the Byron-Brunswick area spoke ‘Minyug’, [that is the people who say minyug for what?], one of a number of dialects of an unnamed language that was spoken over a large area from the Clarence River in NSW to the Albert River in Qld [Mckeown2007; Curr1877]
It is Noteworthy that Livingstone despite having resided in the Richmond area for 10 years does not identify the greater dialect area as being attributable to a group known as BUNDJALUNG…..nor does Radcliffe Brown…..nor does Metson……..So, What happened to the ‘Yoocum Yoocum”?????
Well, thankfully, the surviving descendants of the Yoocum Yoocum are alive and well…despite governance attempts to eradicate their ancient lore and culture from existence…but every day is still a struggle to survive intact in the corporate structure that deems any pre-crown native tenure to the lands as an obstacle they could do without
TODAY corporate governance HAS ALTERED ANCESTRAL LORE TO CLAIM and promote NORTHERN NSW AS BEING the ‘BUNDJALUNG NATION’, apparently [blatantly] eliminating all reference to early ethno-historical and anthropological data thus causing extensive damage to true Aboriginal Culture, Lore, Religious & Ritual practicesAcademic fraud [ or collusion] can be identified when scrutiny of academic research timelines reveals that all the ‘confusion’ about which ancestral tribal peoples belong to which ancestral tribal land is occuring AFTER the Lands Rights legislations were created and Native Title was first achieved in Australia, both of which give Traditional Owners the ability to claim un-used crown lands .
A clear pattern of the same manipulation of the early ethohistorical and anthropological data exists the throughout the country.
It appears to many in the public that government [MOU] contracted universities, academics & local historical societies who have known access to the unadulterated early ethno-historical and linguistic materials and even carry them in their collections, have either omitted them completely or have not correctly cited that earlier data, and are instead altering their reports in apparent empathy of governances Private Asset development Agendas, such as Crown Lands [Report No54/01 Jan 2008 –Local Gov Private Partnerships & Asset Development]
Further; the collusion appears to have a dual function of the Academic and Historical facilities altered data ensuring them Government favour & funding for facilities, by enact dispossession of ancestral moieties from their traditional lands [crown lands and waters] that governance wishes to profiteer from….contractual formats shifts governments duty of care to protect STATE and Archival records integrity by transferring data creation [and subsequent legal obligations & repercussions] outside of the Government departments…..but more on that later