Aboriginal Connections to Tidbinbilla

The name Tidbinbilla is derived from the Ngunnawal word 'Jedbinbilla' - a place where boys were made men. Birrigai takes its name from the Ngunnawal word for ‘laughter/to laugh’.

The ACT Government acknowledges the Ngunnawal people as traditional custodians of the Canberra region. It was also a significant meeting place to neighbouring clans, including the Ngarigo, Wolgalu, Gundungurra, Yuin and Wiradjuri people. Ceremonies, trading and marriages between different clans took place during such gatherings.

Aboriginal people regard themselves as custodians and caretakers of the land. Caring for Country – involves looking after the values, places, resources, stories and cultural obligations of an area (Country), including the processes of spiritual renewal, connecting with ancestors, as well as practices to maintain the natural resources. It is thought that the area around Tidbinbilla was highly prized for its supply of the delicious bogon moth, which was shaken and teased out from under rocky overhangs, and then roasted.

There is evidence that Aboriginal people have lived in the Canberra region for at least 21,000 years. Their descendants still live in the region today but not in the same way as their ancestors did. You can find out more about Aboriginal culture at Tidbinbilla on an Aboriginal Ranger guided activity, or walk the Birrigai Time Trail to the Birrigai Rock Shelter considered one of the oldest rock shelters in the region, or take a short walk along Hanging Rock Trail to Hanging Rock.

Tidbinbilla engages members of the local Aboriginal community to welcome visiting groups and to present specific content where appropriate. Annual celebrations of the local Aboriginal culture occur during NAIDOC Week and National Aboriginal and Islander Children's Day.

Find out more about Aboriginal Connections to Country in the ACT via the TAMS website.

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