Aboriginal History

The original Aboriginal inhabitants of the Wollongong area are the Dharawal people. The Dharawal people lived in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven districts but also in other coastal areas of Sydney between Broken Bay/Pittwater, Berowra Waters, south west to Parramatta and Liverpool. The traditional language of this tribe was also known as Dharawal and this language was spoken from Sydney in the north to as far south as Bega.


Wongawilli and the surrounding area would have provided dry higher ground for camping but considering that a reliable water supply was not within close proximity, it is most likely that the area was not used for long-term occupation but, for foraging activities a good vantage point or as a passing corridor, following the creek from the escarpment to the ocean.


The tool kit of the Dharawal people in the Illawarra region was complex and adapted to each specialised environment. The basic implements can be divided into two groups: ‘extractive’ and ‘maintenance’ tools. Within The Ridge precinct Sheargold undertook through Biosis Research an Aboriginal and archeological and cultural heritage assessment. During that assessment a number of pits where excavated, resulting in the recovery of a number of artifacts. The accompanying pictures show the recovered artifacts which are examples of the tools referred to above.



Biosis (2014). Vista Park, Wongawilli Master Plan: Archaeological Report. Report for Cardno on behalf of RW Sheargold Pty Ltd. Authors: R. Regal, G. Roberts & A. Jakovljevic, Biosis Pty Ltd, Wollongong. Project no. 17170

Illawarra Aborigines – An Introductory History, 1997 by Michael K. Organ & Caorl Speechly – Wollongong University

Welcome to and acknowledgement of country protocol, 17 December 2013 – Wollongong Council