Wonnarua people
aka: Wanaruah, Wanaruwa, Wonnuaruah, Wannerawa, Wonarura and Wonnahare
Wonnarua (AIATSIS), nd (SIL)[1]

Hunter Region bioregion
Language family: Pama–Nyungan[2]
Language branch: Yuin–Kuric
Language group: (??)
Group dialects: Awabakal;[2]
Area (approx. 5,200 sq. km)
Bioregion: Hunter Region
Location: Upper Hunter Valley, New South Wales
Coordinates: 32°35′S 150°50′E / 32.583°S 150.833°E / -32.583; 150.833Coordinates: 32°35′S 150°50′E / 32.583°S 150.833°E / -32.583; 150.833[4]
Mountains: Liverpool Range;[3]
Barrington Tops[5]
Rivers Upper Hunter River;[4]
Allyn River;[6]
Williams River[7]
Other geological: Yengo National Park[6]
Notable individuals
Jackey Jackey

The Wonnarua people /hwənʊrjuːɑːr/, a group of indigenous people of Australia, are those Australian Aborigines that were united by a common language, strong ties of kinship and survived as skilled hunter–fisher–gatherers in family groups or clans scattered along the inland area of what is now known as the Upper Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia. Their traditional territory spreads from the Upper Hunter River, near Maitland west to the Great Dividing Range, towards Wollombi.

Meaning people of the hills and plains, the Wonnarua were bounded to the south by the Darkinjung, to the north–west by the Nganyaywana, to the north–east by the Awabakal, and to the south–east by the Worimi peoples. The Wonnarua also had trade and ceremonial links with the Kamilaroi people. Their creation spirit is Baiami, also known as Koin, the creator of all things and the Keeper of the Valley.[8]

Alternate names

A range of alternate names for the Wonnarua people are Wanaruah, Wanaruwa, Wonnuaruah, Wannerawa, Wonarura, and Wonnahare.[1]


The Gringai are a known clan of the Worimi people, whose traditional lands are the Allyn River valley,[9] and include what is now known as Dungog, Paterson, Gresford, Brookfield,[7] Tocal,[10] to the headwaters of the Williams and Chichester rivers.[7] Gringai land also includes the southern valleys of the Barrington Tops.[5]


The Wonnarua people appeared to use a similar language to the Awabakal people, called Awabakal language, that is being reviewed by oral historians and linguists in order to develop a comprehensive dictionary of the language of the Hunter River and Lake Macquarie regions.[2] However, it has also been claimed that the language of the Wonnarua people is more closely linked to the Darkinjung language.[3]

Native Title

Between 2010 and 2015 the Wonnarua people lodged a total of eight separate native title claims with the National Native title tribunal; the claims have not proceeded any further. In every claim lodged it was clear that the Plains Clans of the Wonnarua People (PCWP) do not recognise or acknowledge that a sub clan was associated with the Wonnarua people. This statement was made by a person who has no connection to the registered native title claimant group. The Awabakal people have lodged a claim that was registered asserting the Gringai are a sub clan of their people, Awabakal people are a tribe bordering the Wonnarua and the Gringai are a sub clan of the Worimi.

The claims are:[11]

Notable Wonnarua people


  1. 1 2 Dousset, Laurent (2005). "Wonnarua". AusAnthrop Australian Aboriginal tribal database. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 Lissarrague, Amanda (2006). "A salvage grammar and wordlist of the language from the Hunter River and Lake Macquarie" (PDF). Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Cooperative. ISBN 0-9775351-0-X.
  3. 1 2 3 Miller, Robert (1886–1887). "No. 188 The Hunter River". In Curr, Edward. The Australian race: its origins, languages, customs, place of landing in Australia, and the routes by which it spread itself over that continent (PDF). III. Melbourne: Government Printer. pp. 352–357.
  4. 1 2 Tindale, Norman (1974). "Wonnarua (NSW)". Aboriginal Tribes of Australia (online extract). South Australian Museum. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
  5. 1 2 "Aboriginal associations with the park area". Barrington Tops National Park. NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  6. 1 2 "Strategic Plan 2009–2019" (PDF). Wonnarua Nation Aboriginal Corporation. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  7. 1 2 3 "Indigenous history". Visit Dungog. Dungog Shire Visitor Information Centre. 2009. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  8. 1 2 "Maitland History: Wonnarua People". Australian Museum of Clothing and Textiles. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  9. "Caergwrle, Allynbrook". Discover people and places. State Library of New South Wales. 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  10. "Summary of Tocal's history". Tocal Homestead. CB Alexander Foundation. Retrieved 15 April 2009.
  11. http://www.nntt.gov.au/searchRegApps/NativeTitleClaims/Pages/default.aspx

External links

Further reading

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