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Lay of the land.

The Gunaikurnai Nation is made up of five major clans.

Jan 6, 2022

Words: Gippslandia
Images: Supplied

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There are five major clans that form the Gunaikurnai Nation: Brataualung, Brayakaulung, Brabralung, Tatungalung and Krauatungalung.

The clans were divided into groups, each of which possesses a special name. In some cases, the locality was named after the group, but for others, they were named after the area.

“...who had informed my ‘occupation’ of landscape to date and who had a say in setting these terms.”

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Brataualung is derived from ‘bra’, which means ‘man’; ‘taua’, which means ‘fire’; and ‘alung’ or ‘galung’ which means ‘belonging to the land or Country’.

The Brataualung claim the country from Anderson Inlet to the Latrobe River, to Cape Liptrap and the southern watershed to the sea.

Key locations are Kut-wut (Agnes River), which is the word for the pigface plant; Yauung (Warrigal Creek); Drelin (Merriman’s Creak); Tarrawarrackel (Port Albert); Lurt-bit (Albert River); Toto Worra Worra (Tarwin River), which is the word for a fruit creeper; Yanakie, meaning ‘walk on’; and Yiruk (Wilsons Promontory).



Brayakaulung is derived from ‘bra’ (man); ‘yak’, which means ‘west’; and ‘alung’ or ‘galung’, which means ‘belonging to the land or Country’.

The Brayakaulung claim the country west of Providence Ponds watered by the Avon, Macalister, Thompson and Latrobe Rivers, down to the junction of the latter two, then following the east side of the Latrobe to Lake Wellington, then eastward by the Gippsland Lakes to near Roseneath, then northwards to Providence Ponds.

Key locations are Kutbunaaura (Bushy Park), which is derived from ‘kutbun’ meaning ‘to carry’ or ‘have taura’; which is fire; it is also the name of a hill near Bushy Park. Bunjil Nullung (the country between the Avon and Providence Ponds) comes from the name of a man and ‘nullung’ means mud. Bunjil Daan (country between the Avon, Maclister and the Thompson Rivers) is the name of the man and ‘daan’ means snow.



Brabralung is derived from ‘bra’, which means ‘man’; and ‘alung’ or ‘galung’, which means ‘belonging to the land or Country’.

The Brabralung claim the country watered by the Tambo, Nicholson and Mitchell Rivers and their tributaries to their extreme sources, and west of the Mitchell River to Providence Ponds with a corresponding frontage to the Gippsland Lakes.

Key locations are Bruthen on the Tambo River; Waiung or Wy-yung (a parish near Bairnsdale); Wuk-wuk (Lindenow) also pronounced Wurkwurk, meaning ‘ground’ or ‘earth’; Dairgo (Dargo River) and Munji (colloquial term for the north shore of Lake Victoria).



Krauatungalung is derived from ‘krauat’, which means ‘east’; and ‘alung’ or ‘galung’ means ‘belonging to the land or Country’.

The Krauatungalung claim the country from near the entrance to the Gippsland Lakes to Cape Everard, Lake Tyers and its tributaries as far as Mount Nowa Nowa and all streams flowing into the Ewing’s Marsh and the Snowy River as far as Willis.



Tatungalung is derived from ‘tat’, which means the ‘sea’, while ‘tatung’ means ‘the south’ and ‘alung’ or ‘galung’, which means ‘belonging to the land or Country’.

The Tatungalung claim the country west of the Krauatungalung and east of the Brataualung; lying between the Gippsland Lakes and the sea together with all the islands in the lakes, except Flanagan Island, which belonged to the Brt-brita division of the Krauatungalung clan.

To the west of the Gunaikurnai Nation is the Kulin Nation, with the Country claimed by the Woiwurrung and Boonwurrung Clans forming part of Gippsland today.

Gippslandia - Issue No. 21

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