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This article is for the Indigenous Australian group. For the village named after them see Wandandian, New South Wales.

The Wandandian were an indigenous Australian people of the South Coast of New South Wales with connections to the Yuin and Tharawal nations.[1]


The Wandandian lands extended over an estimated 1,400 square miles (3,600 km2) from Ulladulla to the Shoalhaven River and Nowra.[2] To their south were the Walbanga. The tribes to their west were the Ngunawal and Walgalu.[3]


Norman Tindale cites a report by a Richard Dawsey reprinted in one of the early volumes edited by Edward Micklethwaite Curr, regarding the tribes from Jervis Bay to Mount Dromedary, as referring to the Wandandian.[4] According to this reference, the tribes divided themselves into two classes, the Piindri (tree climbers) and the Kathoongal (fishermen), and that according to their mythological lore the earth had been once devastated and had to be repopulated by people from the moon.[5]

Aboriginal union organiser for the Builders Labourers Federation Kevin "Cookie" Cook was a Yuin and Wandandian man.[1][6]

Some words[edit]

  • barbatha/baiing (father)
  • meunda/mane (mother)
  • moomaga (white man)[7]
  • tchingar (starfish, hence "policeman", since like the marine animal, the latter seize and detain.[5]

Alternative names[edit]

  • Tharumba
  • Kurial-yuin (meaning "men of the north")
  • Murraygaro
  • Jervis Bay tribe[4]



  1. ^ a b Cook 2013, p. 9.
  2. ^ Tindale 1974, p. 199.
  3. ^ Slattery 2015, p. 122.
  4. ^ a b Tindale 1974, p. 200.
  5. ^ a b Dawsey 1887, p. 420.
  6. ^ The Canberra Times 19 Aug 2015.
  7. ^ Dawsey 1887, p. 422.


  • Cook, Kevin (2013). Making Change Happen: Black & White Activists Talk to Kevin Cook about Aboriginal, Union and Liberation Politics. ANU Press. p. 9.
  • Dawsey, Richard (1887). "From Jervis Bay to Mount Dromedary" (PDF). In Curr, Edward Micklethwaite. The Australian race: its origin, languages, customs, place of landing in Australia and the routes by which it spread itself over the continent. Volume 3. Melbourne: J. Ferres. pp. 420–423.
  • Howitt, Alfred William (1904). The native tribes of south-east Australia (PDF). Macmillan.
  • "Indigenous rights organiser Kevin Cook 'opened the pathways' for all Australians". The Canberra Times. 19 August 2015. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  • Mathews, R. H. (1908). "The Bunan Ceremony of New South Wales". American Anthropologist. 9 (10): 327–344. doi:10.1525/aa.1896.9.10.02a00010. JSTOR 658900.
  • Slattery, Deirdre (2015). Australian Alps: Kosciuszko, Alpine and Namadgi National Parks. Csiro Publishing. ISBN 978-1-486-30172-0.
  • Tindale, Norman Barnett (1974). "Wandandian (NSW)". Aboriginal Tribes of Australia: Their Terrain, Environmental Controls, Distribution, Limits, and Proper Names. Australian National University.