I am retired from working in the academic publishing industry and am putting my academic qualifications as an historian into practice, researching and writing a history of Watsons Bay from 8,000 B.C. to 1970. My DNA ancestry is Scottish, English Scandinavian and German; I’m a 5th generation “Australian”.
“Warami” is Dharug for “hello”. “Eora is Dharug for “Country”. “Warami Eora:Hello Sydney” is not a business, so much as an experience that I want to share with as many people as possible, so that there is greater understanding of the unique culture that is Dharug country. I have structured four walking and harbour tours that are scenically attractive and culturally enriching. I explain first peoples lives on Dhurug country and the arrival of Europeans and the clash of cultures. Despite over 230 years of occupation, first nations people are maintaining their cultural heritage, and it is a rich and rewarding one that everyone should respect and share.
I have lived on the following country and pay my respects to elders past, present and future.
My parents lived in Ningy Ningy country (Redcliffe, Queensland). They came from Boonwurrungm country (my father – South Melbourne) and Gadigal country (my mother – Vaucluse)
The Ningy Ningy clan was the southernmost clan of the Undambi nation. I was born in 1947, in Turrbal country (Virginia Hospital), some kilometres south , but lived in Ningy Ningy and Wakka Wakka country (Kingaroy) for the first two years of my life.
Around 1950, we moved to my maternal grandparents house on Birrabirragal country (Vaucluse) and three years later to Courmangara (Watsons Bay), part of the Dharug nation.
In 1966 I moved to the Kulin nations country, living on Boonwurrungm country (Beaumaris). Over the next 5 years, I lived on other parts of Boonwurrungm country (South Yarra, St Kilda and Chelsea). For a brief time, I also lived on Boroondara (Camberwell) country, home of the Wurundjeri clan of the Woiwurrung nation, and was married there in 1970.
In 1971, I moved back to Dharug country (Vaucluse and Bondi), where our son Kent was born, before once again moving in 1972, back to Ningy Ningy country (Redcliffe) where another son, Drew, was born.
In 1978, we moved to Darramuragal country (St Ives) and in 1996 to Gadigal country (Petersham), both Dharug nation country.
For over half my life I have lived in Dharug country, and Courmangara is my spiritual home. It is where my ashes will be scattered.
Climate and Weather
If you are like most people, you’ll be checking on the weather you can expect to experience when visiting Sydney and taking a walking tour. Climate change is responsible for more changeable and volatile weather in Sydney and like any city of over 5 million people, it creates its own microclimate.
Dharuga have experienced changing climate patterns for tens of thousands of years and unlike the western world, record their seasons according to experience of country rather than day’s weeks or months. Seasons are fluid. They are what they are, for as little or long a time as the conditions apply. Some years shorter seasons, sometimes longer.
Indigenous people also have a longer-term understanding of weather patterns. Aunty Fran Bodkin’s Bidiagal clan has two other cycles that run considerably longer than the yearly cycle, the Mudong, or life cycle which covers about 11 or 12 years, and the Garuwanga, or Dreaming, which is a cycle of about 12,000 to 20,000 years..
This is the current season:
The time of the Marrai’gang (Quoll), Bana’murrai’yung – wet becoming cool and it could be any time between late February and June.
This is the time of the year when the cries of the Marrai’gang (Quoll) seeking his mate used to be heard through the forests and woodlands, Unfortunately, the spotted tail or tiger quoll, is extinct in the Sydney region. The small Tasmanian-devil-like marsupial would growl and screech in the night to attract a mate. It’s also the time when the Lilly Pilly fruits ripen. These miniature apple shaped red fruits are prized by Dharuga, animals, birds and bats and unfortunately the latter two can make a hell of a mess if they poo on your courtyard or car.
It’s also the time when the Dharaga would mend or add skins to their cloaks. Women wore possum skin cloaks, with the leather decorated with symbolic design and would add extra skins as the young grew, and the men their kangaroo skin cloaks. They would then look to move to their winter camps closer to the coast.