The Clans of Yuludara


According to the ancient “Legend of Gympie”, there were originally ten regional clans of native peoples occupying the coastal lands, regional highlands, lowlands and seashores of Dha'mu'ri east of Gympie between 1851-1885 in an area now referred to as the Cooloola National Park, Tin Can Bay region and Noosa River lake system. These coastal peoples also spoke dialect variations of the Kga’bi: Ka’bi language similar to that of the Kgippandingi Clans in the Mary River Valley.

These coastal wetlands and range-forest areas extended from east of Gympie City to Fraser's Island, Tin Can Bay, Rainbow Beach, Double Island Point, Noosa and inland to the coastal ranges at the source of both the Noosa and Mary Rivers and their tributaries. To the north of these coastal lands lay the traditional territories of the Bat'ja: Bat’jala peoples from Maryborough and Fraser’s Island who had a different language dialect and versions of cultural belief.

To the south of the Ka’bi were the Yugum'bir and Yugara'bul clans. The cultures of these neighbouring clans differed greatly to the Ka'bi of the Cooloola-Fraser region. The history of these clans is also rare - compounded by the fact that little was ever recorded of them and they, like the Mary River Valley clans who were thus by default, supposition and theory, recorded as having the same similar feature characteristics to those found in and around the other early European pioneering settlement regions of Southern Queensland when such claims were not so.

It is now a reasonably established fact from modern-day research that some of these “historians” could not have or never had been in the traditional coastal Ka’bi lands - their travels taking them into the fringe range areas of the southern coast and around the early port of Maryborough and the Batja peoples. The Noosa-Tewantin-Nambour region came later – part of Ka’bi territories.

It is also known from modern research into localised pioneering records that these ten coastal clans (not tribes) were also different even though they maintained individual family groups who also had ten different totemic clan names and different territories one could not enter without permission. They enjoyed the same basic clan customs, rituals and so on. What puts them into a different class of characteristic is that the coastal peoples were more of a gentle, fun-loving people intent on body decoration appearance, arts of fishing, clay pottery, canoe constructions and drum making whereas the inland Ka'bi clans displayed more territorial protectionisms, warlike attitudes, and deep spiritual ritual customs.

An extract from one early 19th Century report on the coastal Ka’bi clans states:

"It was a truly magnificent sight as many canoes bearing torches came from all corners of the inlet for a night of song and dance. The scene at the point of the projection into the inlet was ablaze with torches mounted into the ground. Three great fires were centred in the great circle of faces. The singing and music sticks echoed back and forth across the waters and the firelight shimmered the edges of the seawaters. Great piles of shellfish, crawling creatures and fish were thrown upon a place of burning black rock which glowed when fanned by the women… "

Another 19th Century report describes the Negrito clans in the coastal hinterland regions of
Kin Kin in southern Queensland:

"… took note that these are of a much shorter nature - rather smaller than others and a little more stockiere. Their bodies gave evidence of pronounced body hair. They sport long chest-length beards and deep-sunk eyes with large foreheads, giving one an opinion of some mystical personage. Some were golden-haired and fine in feature. These were unlike others so far seen. Were these the little people of the legends?"

Further still, another early 19th Century report states that the clans of the Double Island Point region were the strangest of all – seemingly so apart from all others that no explanation could be accurately given for their of “gold body adornments”; the smoking of strange substances to connect with the spirit world; and questions as to origins – anomalies yet to be fully identified.
An extract states:

"It was when the sun was at its highest point that eight natives appeared out of nowhere. They were naked except for the wearing of earlet rings of a metal like gold. Each wore a necklet from which hung a symbol of a happy fish… was amazed at this sight for nowhere… seen a native taken to wearing such ornament in metal of gold origin… not of character with the natives… Who were these people?"

"It seems that the natives had taken attack on a lonely timbercutter's camp near Pfunna some three months previous and killed some of the men. Some native police and their wards in the area at the time gathered the remains of the group to one place and pursued the natives to Two Island Point that the natives had called Kgulli'raie. After shooting a number of the males and females, they captured the remains… was shocked to learn that the native police and the timbercutters forced the women, children, and remaining males to jump into the shark-ridden waters to be devoured by a terrible death. Those who refused and fought back were shot and their bodies thrown in until none had remained… was disgusted at this inhuman massacre (of the Dha'kgulu peoples).”

Taking all of these report characteristics and apparent anomalies into consideration, it is still evident that what joined them together as one was a common notable feature – the fact that they spoke the same ancient language – Kgaw’bpidhal’i: Kgaw'bi: Ka'bi (depending on the European pronunciation). It should be noted that, as with the inland clans, a claimed name of “Gub’bi” is foreign. Recent research into local terminologies revealed the term as an expletive used to describe an opponent or foreigner.

As to who were the original Ka’bi Clans of the Gympie-Cooloola Coast-Tin Can Bay-Noosa-Nambour regions, the only known early 19th Century records list the clans as being:

  • The Dhunga'bira - The Spear Fishermen of the Kauri Creek-Tin Can Bay Straits region
  • The Dhulin'gi - The Shell Peoples of the Tin Can Bay northern inlet region
  • The Dham'buri/'bari - The Shellfish Eaters of Rainbow Beach-Southern Fraser’s Island region
  • The Dha'kgulu - The Happy Swan Peoples of the Double Island Point region
  • The Dhu'mirri - The Trapping Hunters of the upper Noosa River region
  • The Dhu'pirri - The Net Makers/Fishermen of the Teewah-North Shore region near Noosa
  • The Dhi'lumi - The Whispering People of the Kin Kin hinterland range regions
  • The Dhi'langi - The Clay Makers of the Pomona-Cooroy region
  • The Dhim'bari - The Drum Makers of the Tewantin-Noosa-Weiba region
  • The Dhu'danga - The Canoe Makers of the Eumundi-Yandina-Nambour-Maroochy region

From other local records, clans north of Noosa were apparently extinct or near extinct by c.1885 – the timber cutters, native police and landholders being responsible. Those that survived would have been the elderly incapable of childbirth – possibly taken into Maryborough, Noosa-Tewantin-Nambour or Cherbourg to spend the rest of their lives as servants, town workers or station hands. The Batja on Fraser’s Island were taken into Maryborough – some appear to or were taken to Government missions in the north or to Cherbourg – there is no accurate measure to identify such possibilities – only claims. There are no records of any genuine “modern” descendents.

A sample from the photo gallery:

Territorial lands of the Cooloola-Sunshine Coast Ka’bi peoples c.1870

The Ka’bi, Badtjala, Ngu’lungi territories on Fraser’s Island c.1870

For a more precise documentary on all the material displayed on this website, the information is available on request by serious researchers - See contact addresses and further information details on the “General Information” page of this website.

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