Culture and heritage

Aboriginal heritage

Wiradjuri Reserve and Gobba Beach

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Why is it an Aboriginal Place?

The Wiradjuri Reserve to Gobba Beach corridor of the Murrumbidgee River is an Aboriginal camping and meeting area used from traditional to modern times.

Why is it important to Aboriginal people?

The Aboriginal Place is associated with a traditional Wiradjuri story concerning a couple, Gobbagumbalin and Pomingalarna, who broke traditional law. According to the story, the sad chant of local frogs is a reminder of the death of the couple.

The Aboriginal Place is significant as a former gathering, corroboree, fishing, camping, swimming and river crossing place for local Wiradjuri groups. The area is rich in resources including plants, land, fresh water animals and water. It is also the location of a traditional Wiradjuri river crossing place where, according to traditional stories, the carer of the ‘Nurrang gungali’ or crossing place resides.

A shanty town, or fringe camp, was established on the Wiradjuri Reserve in the 1930s. The settlement, locally known as Tintown, consisted of numerous huts occupied by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal families, dependant on government rations during the Great Depression. Though the town authorities tried to clear the Tintown camp in the 1940s, people continued to live in the settlement until the 1950s. Jack Argus, who was born in 1922 and grew up at Tintown, said: "There were hundreds of huts on both sides of the river, Aboriginal and white families... It used to be known as Tent Town here, then it was Tintown and then later people called it the Bend. You didn’t like to be known as coming from Tintown, so you called it the Flats, because people didn’t know where that was" (Kabaila 1998).

What is on the ground?

The Wiradjuri Reserve to Gobba Beach Reserve contains very little remaining physical evidence of Wiradjuri occupation, due to the intensive use, floods, landscape modification and changes over the past 180 years including sand and soil removal. 

Nature of the environment

Wiradjuri Reserve to Gobba Beach is a typical Murrumbidgee River (Bila Marrambidya) flood plain landscape with scattered vegetation, primarily consisting of Yarra (River Red Gum), smaller pockets of Bilawi (River She Oak), interspersed with stands of Willows and other exotic species.

What is the land used for?

The Aboriginal Place is used for public recreation and environmental conservation. Recreational uses of the area include swimming, boating, fishing, horse riding, bird watching and picnicking. The Wiradjuri Walking Track extends through the Aboriginal Place.

Land status

The majority of the land within the Aboriginal Place is Crown Reserve managed by the Wagga Wagga City Council while the Murrumbidgee River itself is Crown Water.

Further information

Peter Kabaila 1998. Wiradjuri Places: The Macquarie River Basin and some places revisited. Canberra: Black Mountain Projects.

 

Page last updated: 04 October 2013