Welcome to Lake Cargelligo : Culture and Heritage : Indigenous Culture

Indigenous Culture

The traditional home of the Wiradjuri people – their land and language covers a broad area of the region and you will pass through the lands of the traditional owners.

A scattering of sites bearing evidence of occupation of the Wiradjuri people dating back thousand of years can be seen along the length of the Lachlan River and the shores of Lake Cargelligo.

Grinding Plates
Grinding Plates - used to
ground up seeds and also
to sharpen the rocks points
Murrin Bridge started off as a ‘mission’, a place set up by the government to accommodate Aborignals driven out of their traditional lands. It is located in Wiradjuri country although most of its people can trace their roots back to the Ngiyampaa and Paakintji tribes. Murrin Bridge today is no longer a mission but a strong community running its own affairs, on its own land.

The aboriginal people of Murrin Bridge were largely resettled away from their land, but their families have gradually combined so that although Murrin Bridge is located in former Wiradjuri lands, it has become a koori place rather than just Ngiyampaa or Paakantyi or Wiradjuri.

Many sites around the area show the remains of Aboriginal occupation or are significant to the aboriginal community today. ‘Wiradjuri’ means ‘people of three rivers’ being the bordering rivers, the Macquarie, Lachlan & Murrumbidgee.

With white settlement, aboriginal people were heavily restricted in their access to land and freedom of movement. Many aboriginal families were moved to missions or reserves. Today Murrin Bridge (mission) is still home for a number of aboriginal people. It is situated approximately 12kms from Lake Cargelligo.

Boomerang Deflectors      Boomerang Deflectors
Boomerang Deflectors - attach the boomerang deflector
to the stick and would release it
The Ngiyampaa tribe were located at Carowa Tank in 1926, before they were moved to Menindee Court station in 1933. In 1949 the inhabitants of the Menindee Court station were moved once again by train and truck to Murrin Bridge near Lake Cargelligo.

Many artifacts have been located around the Lake forshores and surrounding areas including:

· Aboriginal middens

You can often find Aboriginal Shell Middens along river banks and food plains, near swamps and lakes; they may be visible as scatters of broken mussel shell. The aboriginal people used to collect them, then cook and eat the shellfish. Size can vary greatly with the middens, from as little as 1 metre long to 1000 metres long, and in thickness from 50mm to as big as 1 metre.
Deadmans Point is the location of several freshwater shell middens. This particular midden contains the freshwater mussel (Velesunio Ambiguus). This midden is fairly large and and would be the result of many meals eaten over thousands of years of human deposition.

· Scar Tree/Modified Tree

Scarred trees along the Lachlan River where aborigines have cut bark from trees to make fashion items ranging from small carrying bowls to huge canoes, this in turn leaves a scar on the tree. Usually these were Eucalyptus and Pines.
A modified or scarred tree can be seen in the location of Loughnan St. This tree is a mature Bimble Box (Eucalyptus populensus) with scar dimensions length 1.65m, width 35cm, girth 1.95m, regrowth 24cm.

· Message stick
Message Sticks Message Sticks

The message stick was used when one tribe had to pass on a message to another person in tribal grounds. It was trespassing if they were on their land and would be attacked by the other tribe. So they would carry a message stick with them in their hand, this allowed them to be on their land to pass on the message.


· Aboriginal grave marker

Grave Maker
Carved trees used to mark graves are an important feature of old Wiradjuri culture. Many of these trees have now been destroyed by land clearing and bushfires. A  carved tree can be seen at the Lake Cargelligo Historical Museum along with other artifacts

(All images of artifacts on display at the Historical Museum)