Box HER43 Resilience and reconnection with Country—The Gully, Greater Blue Mountains

There is a strong continuing connection between the people of the 6 Aboriginal language groups of the Greater Blue Mountains—Darkinjung, Darug, Gundungurra, Dharawal, Wanaruah and Wiradjuri—and the places they call Country. These Aboriginal communities are resilient, vibrant and involved, having continued, adapted or re-established their connections with Country.

Some Indigenous people in the Greater Blue Mountains were displaced during the 19th century, but have subsequently returned to their ancestral places. The Gully in Katoomba was a fringe camp established on the upper slopes of the Kedumba Valley. Before 1788, this area was used as a meeting and camping place. Gundungurra and Darug people re-established settlement here around 1894, when it was outside the jurisdiction of the Aboriginal Protection Board. However, the residents of the area were subjected to forcible eviction in 1957—an event that reminds us of the ongoing impact of European settlement on culture and Aboriginal people, even into the second half of the 20th century.

Traditional owners have returned and re-established connection with The Gully, which is now managed for its cultural values. It has recently been the venue for a Living Country Culture Camp and a gathering of global Indigenous people held in conjunction with the World Parks Congress in 2014.

The Gully is now recognised—both culturally and legally—as an Aboriginal Place (NSW OEH 2016b).

Indigenous people’s gathering at The Gully—World Parks Congress 2014

Indigenous people’s gathering at The Gully—World Parks Congress 2014

Photo by Richard Mackay

Indigenous people’s gathering at The Gully—World Parks Congress 2014

Mackay R (2016). Heritage: Box HER43 Resilience and reconnection with Country—The Gully, Greater Blue Mountains. In: Australia state of the environment 2016, Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, Canberra, https://soe.environment.gov.au/case-study/heritage/box-her43-resilience-and-reconnection-country-gully-greater-blue-mountains, DOI 10.4226/94/58b658bbe13a0