Culture & Heritage


In 2020 there are 2,985 registered Aboriginal sites located within the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council boundaries.

The traditional boundaries of Darkinjung (Darkinyung) land extend from the Hawkesbury River in the south, Lake Macquarie in the north, the McDonald River and Wollombi up to Mt Yengo in the west and the Pacific Ocean in the East.

Darkinjung LALC works with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services (NSW NPWS) to ensure that all discovered sites are recorded and registered with the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and updated in the Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System (AHIMS) Database. Working with both NSW NPWS and OEH ensures the protection of habitats, ecosystems, plant and animal species, significant geological features and land forms and protects icons and sites of national significance.

Darkinjung LALC works with both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations, carrying out legislation to protect Aboriginal Cultural and Heritage.
Such organisations include: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, State Forest NSW, Central Coast Hunter Range Regional Aboriginal Co-Management Committee, Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area Aboriginal Reference Group, Gosford City and Wyong Shire Councils, Water Catchment Authorities, TransGrid & AusGrid.


There are many different kinds of totems, personal totems, skin totems, clan totems etc. So when people ask about totems it could relate to any one of many totems. Many totems can be seen in our local rock art.

There is many-many skin totems as there need to be a relationship to just about everything, one person has many totems. The skin totems of the Darkinyung people have been documented by Mathews (1897). Darkinyung social systems (relationship rules) are the same or very similar to many other groups throughout NSW including the Wiradjuri, Kamilaroi, Wanggaybuwan, Wayilwan and Ngiyambaa.

The Darkinyung relationship rules consist of two moieties (blood) divide into four sections (skin/meat). Mathews (1897) documents these are as follows,

Ippai /Ippatha Bya /Matha Kumbo/Butha Kubbi /Kubbitha.
Bya marries Butha Children are Ippai (male) or Ippatha (female)
Kubbi marries Ippatha Children are Kumbo (male) or Butha(female)
Ippai marries Kubbitha Children are Murri (male) or Matha (female)
Kumbo marries Matha Children area Kubbi (male) or Kubitha (female)

Some of the documented totems for Bya and Kubbi include,
• Scrub Opossum (Possum)
• Native bee
• Emu
• Bandicoot
• Eaglehawk
• Wallaroo

Some of the documented totems for Ippai and Kumbo include,
• Grey Kangaroo
• Diamond Snake
• Wombat
• Black Snake
• Wallaby

According to Ridley (1853) Darkinyung speakers had a social organisation based on sections similar to that of groups to the north-west such as the Kamilaroi.

Note. Bya is known as Murri in most other group


Aboriginal Flag

The Aboriginal flag was designed by Harold Thomas, a Luritja man from Central Australia. It was created as a symbol of unity and national identity for Aboriginal people during the land rights movement of the early 1970s. Gary Foley took the flag to the East Coast where it was promoted and eventually recognised as the official flag of the Australian Aboriginal people. The flag was first flown at Victoria Square in Adelaide on National Aborigines Day, 12 July 1971. The flag was chosen as the official flag for the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and was first flown there in 1972. In 1995, the Australian Government proclaimed the flag as an official ‘Flag of Australia’ under section 5 of the Flags Act 1953. In 1997, Harold Thomas was recognised as the author of the artistic work under the Copyright Act 1968.


The symbolic meaning of the flag colours (as stated by Mr Harold Thomas) are:

Black: Represents the Aboriginal people of Australia
Red: Represents the red earth, the red ochre and a spiritual relation to the land
Yellow: Represents the Sun, the giver of life and protector


Harold Thomas was born in Alice Springs; his mother a Luritja woman and his father a Wombai man. He was sent to St Francis’ Anglican boys home in Adelaide and in 1965 won a scholarship to the South Australian School of Art, becoming the first Aboriginal to graduate from an Australian Art School. He also has an Honorary Degree in Social Anthropology from Adelaide University. In 1970 he started working as a survey artist at the South Australian Museum, where he designed the flag. Since then, Harold has continued to work as an artist, with his works on display in several Australian galleries.

COPYRIGHT: In 1997, the Federal Court of Australia officially recognised Harold Thomas as the author of the flag. This protects the flag under the Copyright Act 1968 and so it may be only reproduced in accordance with this legislation or with the permission of Mr Thomas. For guidance about using the Aboriginal flag, its colours, or the Torres Strait Islander Flag refer to the Commonwealth Flag Officer (phone 02 6271 5629 or 02 6271 5111) at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. The copyright license for the manufacture and marketing of the Aboriginal flag has been awarded by Mr Thomas to Carroll and Richardson Flags. Flags that do not have a white header at the left side, or flags that do not show the Carroll and Richardson label could be infringing the copyright owned by Mr Harold Thomas.

Torres Strait Islanders Flag

The Torres Strait Islander Flag was created as a symbol of unity and identity for Torres Strait Islander peoples, designed by the late Bernard Namok, then a 15 year old school student from Thursday Island.

It was the winning entry from a design competition held as part of a Cultural Revival Workshop, organised by The Islands Co-ordinating Council in January 1992. The flag was recognised by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission in June 1992 and given equal prominence with the Aboriginal flag.

In July 1995, it was recognised by the Australian Government as an official ‘Flag of Australia’ under the Flags Act 1953.


Each part of the flag is designed to represent something about Torres Strait Island

Green: Represents the land
Blue: Represents the sea
White: Represents peace
Black: Represents the Indigenous peoples
The dhari (headdress) represents Torres Strait Island people and the five pointed star
represents the 5 major Island groups. The star also represents navigation, as a symbol
of the seafaring culture of the Torres Strait. The Island Co-ordinating Council also chose the design as its simplicity would allow each Torres Strait community to incorporate their own emblem into the design for
local identification.

COPYRIGHT: For guidance on the use and reproduction of the Torres Strait Islander Flag, contact the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission – National Media and Marketing Office or the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.


Darkinjung acknowledges that we operate and function on the lands of the Darkinyung people.

We pay our respect to these lands and its people. We acknowledge those ancestors that defended,walked and managed these lands for many generations before us and who have left a legacy of strong cultural, wisdom and knowledge embeded in these lands today.

We acknowledge and recognise all Aboriginal people who have come from other First Nations groups and who have now come to call this country their home. We acknowledge our Elders who are our knowledge holders, teachers and pioneers.

We recognise all Aboriginal people who were forcibly removed from their families and communities and
acknowledge the negative impact  and disconnection to family, land  and community.

We empower our youth who are our hope for a brighter and stronger future and who will be our future leaders.

We acknowledge and pay our respect to our Members who have gone before us and recognise their contribution to our people and community.

Experience a unique Aboriginal Cultural experience on Darkinjung Country Today

For custom group bookings and pricing simply contact our office by phoning (02) 4351 2930 or send us an enquiry at