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Aboriginal Nation of Guringai (Kuring-gai)

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DRAFT DOCUMENT - information not approved by the Indigenous Australians Project

The information on this page is currently under review as much of it is not consistent with current knowledge about the language groups around the Sydney region and the regions North of Sydney.

Information under review

Clans or bands (called ‘tribes’ by the Europeans) within Sydney belonged to several major language groups, often with coastal and inland dialects, including Dharug (Darug), Dharawal (Tharawal), Gundungurra and Guringai (Kuring-gai).

There are at least six bands understood to have shared the Guringai language including:[1]

  • Terramerragal around current Turramurra
  • Cammeraigal around current Cammeray
  • Carigal around current West Head
  • Cannalgal along the cost at what is now Manly
  • Kayimai on the harbour around Manly
  • Gorualgal near what is now Fig Tree Point

Kinship and Naming protocols Worked through using example Yarramundi Suggested use of naming fields (please click on hyperlinks for definitions):

Proper first name: Yarramundi - This is the most widely acknowledged spelling of his name Preferred name: Yarramundi - the same as for the proper first name field Other Nicknames: Yellowmundi - this is a variation of the name Yarramundi, which has been historically recorded. Skin name: unknown - this name is not public knowledge and may or may not be known, thus it cannot be used in a public profile. Clan/family group: Boorooberongal - in light of Yarramundi's skin name not being publicly available, Boorooberongal is considered to be the most appropriate name to to be used in the Last Name at Birth (LNAB) field, representing his family group.


  1. J L Kohen and Ronald Lampert ‘Hunters and Fishers in the Sydney Region’, in Mulvaney, D J and White, Peter, 1987, Australians to 1788, Fairfax, Syme & Weldon, Sydney, p.351, via Barani, Sydney's Aboriginal History; Aboriginal people and place

The map reference uses the Kuring-gai spelling, also given in the Wikipedia article.

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This fiction and claims has been going on for too long. The Guringai also spelt kuringai, Kuring-gai , Cooringay, Guringai, Gooreeggai, Goreenggai, Gourenggai, Gingai, Gooreenggai, Gringai, Corringorri and Guringay on our language dictionary – Guthang.

Daily telegraph “Misunderstanding: The historical fiction of the word Guringai that has filled a void in our knowledge of the original inhabitants by John Morcombe, Manly Daily February 20, 2015 2:41pm.”


In a new document, Filling A Void, by the Aboriginal heritage office http://www.aboriginalheritage.org/news/2015/filling-a-void/ (Funded by the Tax payer)

And most importantly all the Aboriginal lands Council’s on the NSW Coast, The NSW Aboriginal land Council headquarters, (A total of 7) and also not included at this stage another 4 the Northern Aboriginal Land Councils from the Hunter River up to Port Macquarie NSW. https://hunterlivinghistories.com/2018/08/15/the-kabook-watoo/

Written and compiled by Robert Syron and Luke Russell Registered Aboriginal owners

The Guringai, Guringay or Gringai people are the traditional custodians of the land between the Hunter and Manning Rivers, from the ocean to and including the Great Dividing Range. A saltwater people whose land extended inland as far as the salt pushed. From modern day Newcastle to Singleton, on the northern side of the Hunter, through the Barrington’s and back down the Manning to the ocean. This is traditional Gringai country. Bordering the Birripai speaking people of the north, the Awabakal people to the south and the Wannarua and Komelroi people to the west.

Descending from one of the four traditional nations of our language group, we have continued the strong connection to our old people, our old ways, our country, our language, our stories and our kinship. Traditionally our language group encompassed the lands between the Hawkesbury and Hastings, the ocean and the mountain ranges. Our ceremonial, kinship and marriage ties would take us further into the northern and southern bordering language groups.

The Gringai, Worimai and Biripai are language dialects of the traditional custodians. Thankfully our language is well recorded with over 6,000 words and importantly voice recordings over an extended time. From the early 1800’s to the 1970’s various recordings were taken from Port Stephens, Gresford, Taree, Port Macquarie, the upper Manning and the Barrington’s. Allowing us to re-awaken our traditional dialects and speak the language of our old people.

Our stories lines connect us to the four corners of our language group, tying us to our surrounding nations, the country and sea. We have been fortunate to have our traditional stories passed down through the generations, in turn we are now privileged in maintaining our connection and most importantly we keep our old people alive by doing so.

The respect and gratitude to all of our old people who have gone before us is of the utmost importance to us. For if it wasn’t for all those people playing their role’s, we wouldn’t be in the position we are in today. Being able to continue all of their amazing stories.

We are the only kuringai, Kuring-gai , Cooringay, Guringai, Gooreeggai, Goreenggai, Gourenggai, Gingai, Gooreenggai, Gringai, Corringorri, Guringay and Goringai People.

The Guringai The word has been spelt kuringai, Kuring-gai, Cooringay, Guringai, Gooreeggai, Goreenggai, Gourenggai, Gingai, Gooreenggai, Gringai, Corringorri, Guringay and Goringai

The following Newspaper article is written by JOHN FRASER. This story was long before his print in 1892 totally contradicts his later work 1892 -93 and is proof of where he got the idea from that the kuring-gai were one super tribe and “&c , of Mr Oliver’s letter” , John Fraser said in 1892 “ “I assured myself” that the country thereabout was occupied by subtribes of the Kurring-gai.” Fraser has spelt it “Goringai, kuring-gai and Kurig-gi on his map 1892.” Sydney Morning Herald (NSW: 1842 – 1954), Thursday 12 June 1890, page 4

TO THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD. Sir, —When the municipalities of the North Shore combine and adopt the native name of their district, as Mr Oliver very fitly suggests, it is to be hoped that the spelling of the name will receive attention. For, although Cammeray is not a monstrosity like Woolloomooloo or Woollahra, yet the spelling of it might be improved. The C should give place to K, for C in English is a redundant letter, representing the sound either of K or of S, and should not be used here in our native words. The termination “eray” might, I think be written “arai,” for “ara” and “arai” are established forms in the aboriginal languages. The whole name would thus be Kamarai, which, certainly, is prettier and easier to pronounce than St Leonards. But as our blacks make the “a” and the”o” sounds to be nearly alike, the name might also be written Komaroi; to this we have a parallel in the name Kamilaroi. Mr Oliver is right as to the location of the Kamilaroi tribe. Many years ago I had the privilege of long and interesting conversations about that tribe with a gentleman who had been one of the pioneer settlers in their district 50 years ago. He could speak their language “like a native,” was called by them Charley Murruba, ” Charles the Good,” was never molested even in those days by any men of the tribe, and his property was always safe in their hands. He had often travailed the main road from Maitland to the Lower Namoi, and know the country well. The limits of the Kamilaroi dialect, he said, were then the River Gwydir on the north, on the west an irregular line drawn from Walgett, southwards through Coonabarabran and round to Scone on the Hunter, and thence east and north along the Dividing Range to the sources of the Gwydir. Beyond the Gwydir was the Ualaroi dialect, akin to the Kamilaroi, but yet considerably different from it; to the west the Wirrajery, or Wirradhuri, quite different and to the south and east the Goringai, also different from the Kamilaroi.

I know that the Goringai tribe occupied the whole of the east coast from the Hastings and the Manning down to the Hunter, and had several subdivisions named from particular localities in their territory.


NOTE: Mr Oliver’s letter did not give this “one great tribe” a name in his letter. It would seem this is how John Fraser “assured himself” it was all Goringai / koringai, kuringgai now called Guringai country.

posted by Robert Syron
Hi Robert, I just discovered this page. I was planning to create a page incorporating some of the information that you recently provided to Veronica Williams. I'm now adopting this page for the Australia Project. I'll work on it over the next while to correct the information. I'll let you know when we've done some more work, and you can check it over. If you are interested in becoming more actively involved on WikiTree, you are very welcome to assist. Thanks for your expertise. Gillian
posted by Gillian Thomas

Categories: Guringai (Kuring-gai)