Boon-ga-ree Aboriginal of New St Wales 1819
who accompanied me on my first voyage to the N W coast
Phillip Parker King
Album of Sketches and Engravings, 1802-93
Mitchell Library, Sydney

Keith Vincent Smith

Bungaree, Boongaree or Bongaree (c1775-1830), the Garigal leader born at Broken Bay, practiced the Aboriginal technique now called ‘cultural burning’. 

Before sailing with Captain Phillip Parker King to west and northern Australia, Bungaree was seen in September 1817 burning the bush at Burroggy (Bradley’s Head), near the Georges Heights Farm at Mosman granted to him in 1815 by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. 

Masters mate of the cutter Mermaid, John Septimus Roe, wrote in his private journal:

— For the present grand illumination we are indebted to Bongaree Chief of the Broken Bay Tribe of Natives, who with some of the neighbouring Tribe are burning the bushes to hunt out the Kangaroos which resort there in tolerable numbers. On issuing from the burning woods they are struck with slender spears about 9 or 10 feet long pointed and barbed with bone or hard wood, or are hunted down by strong dogs of the greyhound species trained for the purpose.


[George Caley, Diary of a journey to Picton Lakes, MS C112 / CY Reel 1324, Mitchell Library, Sydney – Reflections 101:40]

Sir Joseph Banks’s botany collector in New South Wales George Caley unexpectedly met Kanabaygal and his mountain people at Stonequarry Creek,  near the Cowpastures in 1804 [pages 20-21][15 February 1804 – on his way to Picton Lakes] . He wrote:

I had not gone scarcely a mile before I heard the noise of a native using his Mogo [mugu]. Now I was struck with the fidelity and accuracy of my map. I hallowed, and ere long was answered; and shortly after a native came running to me and called me by name. He informed me there was a large party Walbunga* a little ways of[f] …

Caley was told by Gogy, an Aboriginal man, that walbunga meant “catching kangaroos by setting the place on fire, and by [‘the blacks’] placing themselves in the direction the animal is forced to pass and by throwing spears at it as it passes along.”

Copyright Keith Vincent Smith 2022