First Australians

First Australians Overview History of Yugumbeh Land (Gold Coast). 

The Ngarahgwal people (Salt water tribe of the Yugumbeh language speaking tribes) were the traditional custodians of the area from Nerang River to the Tweed River, they referred to this area as “Kurrungul”, a name derived from their word for endless supplies of special timbers. This area had been the Ngarahgwal peoples homeland since God Himself put them there. 

Kurrungul was a place of abundant food, vegetables, fruits, nuts, meat, shellfish & seafood.  Red Cedar, Rosewood, Mahogany. The forests were magnificent & full of life.  

The Yugumbah peoples were family orientated & community minded, intelligent, good people. Modern day dating of shell mittens found in Yugumeh land (Gold Coast area) prove that this area is one of the oldest inhabited areas in the world.

In 1840 the Australian Government had this area surveyed. They found Kurrungul to be full of precious  boat & furniture making timbers.  Armed government gangs of timber cutters (single men with no European women) descended upon Ngarahgwal land cutting down every good tree. They chop down as much wood as their bullock teams could drag up to Brisbane for use in the Moreton Bay shipping industry. The timber cutters treated the local people with little respect.  Greed & the lust for money drove the  European men to lay waste to Kurrungul.

There were approximately eight clans that made up the  Yugumbeh language speaking tribes. In 1845 two European cedar cutters were killed at Murwillumbah, the colonizing white European people reacted to these murders with brutal force. Dispersing ( a code word for killing) first Australians around the Northern Rivers & the Yugumbeh land area.

Yugumbeh people were rounded up and  place into a government sanctioned camp at Nerrang.  Once all the good timber had been removed from Yugumbeh lands the colonizing white European started to settle and set up farms. The Government Prison Camp at Nerrang became to close for comfort for the farming community so the government moved the Yugumbeh people further west to Beaudesert.  As the new Gold Coast farming and European settlement expanded the Aboriginal camp at Beaudesert became once again to close for comfort and the aboriginal people were relocated off their traditional land and forcibly moved 375km north west of Brisbane to Barambah.  Aboriginal people  were brought from all over Queensland and Northern New South Wales to  this government reserve. Under the Aborigines Protection Act of 1897 the settlement then called Barambah, was gazetted and established in 1904. In 1932, the name Barambah was then changed to Cherbourg due to a nearby property called “Barambah Station” which caused confusion in mail delivery.

However one fresh water  tribe that was able to intermarry under trbal law with the Yugumber people was the Githabul tribe.  They were never moved off their traditional lands. They eventually were moved to a government camp called Muli, at modern day Woodenbong Northern NSW. 

1895 Cutting The Forest

first australians

Pre European Language Map

 ‘Click on pictures to enlarge!’