Acknowledgement of Country
The Macleay Valley is home to a timeless, diverse, and vibrant culture that is maintained by strong local Indigenous groups, art galleries and events. The Thunggutti/Dunghutti (also known as Dhanggati or Dainggatti) people have lived in the Macleay region for millennia, from the saltwater coastal areas to the freshwater country upstream and the mountain country to the west. The Slim Dusty Centre resides on Dunghutti land while Slim grew up out West in Nulla Nulla which belongs to the Thunghutti Nation.
Local Aboriginal culture remains strong and dynamic across the landscapes, in towns and villages, in the homes and settlements of our community, in the language and traditions the Elders keep, and use of sacred and ceremonial sites. Ancient sites are found across the region, from camp sites and boras through to landscapescale sites such as the Stuarts Point-Clybucca Midden. There are a number of Aboriginal organisations in the region, including The Ngabu Bingayi Aboriginal Corporation - a group of Dhanggati* Elders and younger people dedicated to the wellbeing (including the revival of language and culture) of the Dunghutti people in the Macleay Valley. Ngabu means ‘Elder Sister’ and Bingayi means ‘Elder Brother’ thus: Sisters and Brothers. There are two land councils in the area. The Kempsey Local Aboriginal Land Council covers the saltwater coastal areas and parts of the freshwater country upstream. The Thunggutti Local Aboriginal Land Council covers the mountain country to the west.
The Dunghutti Elders Council (Aboriginal Corporation) RNTBC is the first Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC) in Australia, the Tribunal President Justice Robert French - Federal Court in Sydney congratulated the Dunghutti people on gaining a place in Australian history as the first determined holders of native title on the Australian mainland on the 7th April 1997. A registered native title body corporate that manages native title claims and holds compensation funds from native title claims on behalf of the Dunghutti people in the Kempsey region of New South Wales. Contemporary places that document the impacts of colonisation on the Aboriginal community include the Kinchela Boys Home and the Mission sites at Burnt Bridge and Greenhill. Aboriginal cultural heritage is also recorded in the works of Aboriginal artists – including the late Robert Campbell Junior, whose paintings are held by the National Gallery of Australia – and on the mural wall of Services Park in Kempsey, where younger Thunggutti/Dunghutti artists keep a visual record of their community.