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Bulahdelah Mountain Aboriginal Place: Unique Aboriginal Culture in NSW

Bulahdelah Mountain Aboriginal Place is located in Bulahdelah State Forest, east of the township of Bulahdelah on the confluence of the Myall and Crawford Rivers, approximately 70 kilometres northeast of Newcastle.

Bulahdelah Mountain is an Aboriginal Place in recognition of the cultural, spiritual and historical significance of the area to the Worimi people. It’s imposing rocky tors were and are important to the Traditional Owners of the land.

According to oral tradition the Worimi’s are the original inhabitants of the Australian continent. The place name Bulahdelah which means ‘chinkling creek’ is thought to have derived from a traditional Australian myth which says that the ancestors of the Worimi people lived in a sacred valley deep in the mountains that was called Bulahdelah. The more recent translation ‘chinkling creek’ refers to the singing of the creek by local Aboriginal children in the early days of European settlement at Bulahdelah. The traditional landscape and history of Bulahdelah and its people is part of the collection of cultural resources for the purpose of cultural heritage conservation under the NSW Heritage Act.

Bulahdelah is a sub-site of the Northern Rivers region of the Gove Peninsula.

The mountains and gorges of the Mounts to Bulahdelah, including Bulahdelah Mountain, Bulahdelah Wallow and Bamaderrilly, have been in Aboriginal cultural use since pre-European times. They have provided numerous sites of spiritual significance and many places of historic significance, including the ancestral camp (the King’s Camp).

In conjunction with Warringah Council, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage has acknowledged that Bulahdelah Mountain is an important place of cultural significance to the Worimi people. Bulahdelah Mountain Aboriginal Place is one of the three registered Aboriginal Heritage Places within the Burrawangku Traditional Owners Area.

Bulahdelah Aboriginal Place incorporates multiple unique features, that are representative of their traditional ways of living.

Hidden areas of the mountain were once used as sleeping areas.

Burnt down poles with red flagging mark the track.

Antennae of tree (woman’s arms) have been found in a camp.

Located on a sacred aboriginal site.

The site also has a history of death.

This is one of the most sacred places in the Hunter Valley region.

Bulahdelah Mountain Aboriginal Place is unique in that it is located within bushland, with evidence of Aboriginal occupation for over 20,000 years.

The original Worimi lands were here and were cleared for farming over 40 years ago.

It is recognised as a place to be respected, an honour to have been given to you.

This place provides important cultural practices and ceremonies to pass on traditional ways and values.

It is a place where you can practice a traditional welcome to Country and meet with your brother and sister and share stories about the land and the stories and where to find food and water.

The spot itself has significance, that it is the mountain and the space in-between, known as “the place”, where human beings first came together as a whole to have a spiritual connection.

The construction of the ceremonial fence to the right of the gully at the mountain near the place.

It represents the connection and harmony and strength of the tribal ties between two families.

There are several myths surrounding the beginning of the Worimi Country. Some stories describe an origin for Bulahdelah Mountain.

One story tells of an Aborigine woman who lived in the Bulahdelah valley. She was the mother of all the children. One day she was riding her horse when she was pursued by a crazed dog. She feared that she would be killed if she returned home, so she hid in a crevice in the rock face.

Her son, who was watching from a distance, became very angry and fearful that his mother was being killed. He bravely rode to the rock face, dug a hole to bury her in and covered it over with more rocks.

The Aborigine woman’s spirit could only enter into the hole to get food, but not out. One day she died from starvation and thirst.

Over six hectares, the land offers visitors an opportunity to experience the diverse landscape, culture and heritage of the Aboriginals of the region. The place has an incredible range of walking tracks, picnic areas, hunting blinds and platform walks that allow visitors to experience the rich Australian bushland while soaking up the feeling and energy of the area.

Location

Location : Bulahdelah State Forest (near Orara East), about 70 kilometres east of Newcastle.

: Bulahdelah State Forest (near Orara East), about 70 kilometres east of Newcastle. Opens: April (closed July, August and December)

3 Hours Drive Time From Sydney

2 Hours Drive Time From Brisbane

Cost: A 3-hour drive to Bulahdelah to explore the area is about $60.

The area features at a strategic geographic point and is noted for its mountains, waterfalls and caves.

After wandering through a spooky cave, you can take a stroll along the banks of the river and admire the stunning views over the beautiful White Mountains.

Access to the cultural landscape is by dirt road and can be accessed by the NSW Southern Highlands Cycle Trails.

Dotted along the road

Between the and the North facing mountain of the property, the path descends to the creek which is a beautiful swimming hole. This is a very remote area and only accessible on foot.

The land is used by the Worimi people for bush foods harvesting, cultural heritage tourism and gatherings.

Facilities found here

  • Carpark
  • Lookouts

Accessibility Information

  • Does not cater for people with access needs.

Location

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