Totems for website


Wollondilly Shire Council acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land in Wollondilly, the Dharawal and Gundungurra peoples.

We acknowledge the living culture and spiritual connections to the land for the Dharawal and Gundungurra people and all Aboriginal Nation Groups that may have connections to the area; and that Wollondilly is remarkably placed as the intersection of many tribal lands. 

We recognise the traditional Custodians have occupied and cared for this Country over countless generations and celebrate their continuing contribution to the Shire.

We also acknowledge and remember the Dharawal and Gundungurra peoples who were killed in the Appin Massacre on 17 April 1816.

We acknowledge our collaboration with the Tharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council.


The earliest known inhabitants of the district were the natives of the Gundangurra Tribe who gave the area its name. It is said that the word Wollondilly is attributed to having several meanings including;

Wollondilly, a Gundungurra word, warlandiilii is a spot near the junction of Paddy’s River upstream of Burragorang Valley and means place of rock Crystal. Recorded by Throsby in 1819 at the spot and again by Bennett in 1908. 

“A place where spirits dwell” and “Water trickling over rocks” which is connected to a legend about the burning black coal that was carried inside the skull of a bunyip, within a basket woven of waratah stems. “Worron” means black coal and “dilly” means carry basket.

For thousands of years, the original inhabitants of Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples occupied the lands with very different boundaries than today. TheAIATSIS Mapof Indigenous Australian is an attempt to represent the language, tribal or nation groups of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia. 


The Appin massacre of 1816 is traditionally remembered as the annihilation of the Aboriginal people and is one of the most devastating and tragic events to happen in the Macarthur area. 

During the early British settlement, the land of the Macarthur region was shared between the Dharawal, Darug and Gundungurra people. They called this area home and had felt a part of the land  through countless generations. Within 25 years of the original discovery of the area by British settlers, the majority of the Aboriginal people were killed.

The process of Aboriginal people being forced off their traditional land began as the number of local farms increased. The spread of diseases brought by the European settlers depleted the population of the Gundungurra people in our community. 

We might not have been there to witness the terror and confusion but every year we remember those who were killed. A special memorial service is held each year to acknowledge the descendants of survivors, and reconcile the past with the present to ensure such horrible events can not occur again in the future. 


3.2% of people living in Wollondilly are Aboriginal. The .id population experts show key statics and a comparison of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Wollondilly and around NSW. 

Supporting Organisations