Most of the Koori people in the Burragorang Valley attend a party at John Riley’s section at Burnt Flat. It is one of the largest gatherings of Gandangara people in the 20th century. J. Smith, ‘Gundungurra Country’, PhD thesis, 2008, p. 428.

The ethnographer R. H. Mathews records Gandangara stories and language. He records Gurangatch and other traditional stories on his visit to Burragorang Valley. He names his informants for various languages. He goes to Camden Park and writes in his notebook 8006/3/7 Nbk 7, page 32-34 he refers to Darug language obtained from Peggy, Nelly and Janey. He says that Peggy was blind. Peggy’s mother was Nanny.

Mary Toliman, a Dharawal woman, is widely known as a midwife, “The last full blood aborigine in the valley was Mrs Toliman, who became Mrs John Longbottom. She was a midwife whose services were valued in that isolated valley with the nearest doctor many miles away and she brought many new arrivals into the world.” Another settler writes, “She was held in great esteem as a midwife and bush nurse, … the farmers swore by her herbal remedies. She would never let anyone find what she used for her poultices for drawing out poisons or the healing of open wounds, of the internal doses, ranging from a few drops to a tablespoon all she would say was that they were forbidden by the elders to reveal these things, that had been handed down from mother to daughter since time began and if she told she would not be welcome in the Dreamland where all her ancestors had gone.” Johnson, Sacred Waters, pp. 49-50. Mary Toliman has four children: Selena, Burt, Mary and Fred.


The ethnographer Bennett records a sentence in Gandangara meaning ‘I’m going to get off’. What Bennett intends as only a grammatical example the sentence has many associations for Gandangara people. Jim Smith writes, ‘It would have evoked the memory of groups of women digging up fern roots, washing them in the Cox River, and beating the roots with their special “Katoom” stones, all of this activity taking place under the brooding eyes of one of the monoliths overlooking the fern fields. Katoom fern harvesting would have been time to exploit the maximum starch levels in the roots, probably in summer. The sound of Katoomba was the beat of “Katoom” stones on wooden boards. Katoomba for Gandangara people was located at the junction of many pathways including those connecting the fern fields to King’s Tableland, the Upper Kedumba Valley, Kia Range, Kiaramba Range by the Policeman Ridge, and the Lower and Middle Cox River areas via the Riverside pathways. Katoomba lies on the Dreaming pathways of Gurangatch and Mirragan and was the site of one of the Gurangatch’s site excursions to Reedy Creek. It was the location of one of the deep pools where Gurangatch rested. Katoomba would have also been located, in Gandangara minds, within the area of many salt springs, near a small cave of medicinal water. It was close to the pathway through the clearings, maintained by burning to attract macropods, and a few hours walk away from the Cedar Creek Art Gallery cave. All of the associations would have been brought up by the word Katoomba. All of the associations would have brought the word Katoomba alive for Gandangara people and precisely located it in their mental landscape. J. Smith, ‘Gundungurra Country’, PhD thesis, 2008, p. 631.

The Nulla Nulla camp is occupied by four household groups, Annie Sherritt, Thomas Reilly, Frank Locke, and Willy Russell.


John Riley resumes Annie Sherritt’s Nulla Nulla reserve (14937). He dies in 1929. It is the only reserve not to be revoked until inundated by the Warragamba Dam in 1954. (J. Smith, ‘Gundungurra Country’, PhD thesis, 2008, p. 392)

Aunty Joan Cooper recalls Gully life, “Although I always knew I was Dharug, and I knew Digger [her husband] and his family were Gandangara, it wasn’t talked about like that. I suppose it was clear from what we did, where we went … my relatives often made trips to Parramatta and Plumpton while Digger and Nat and the others were always going back down the Burragorang and the Megalong.” Aunty Joan’s daughter, Carol Cooper, “We didn’t talk about ourselves as being from different nations then. We were together back then… I mean we knew we were Aboriginal and all and we called each other sis, brother and coz but there was no division on what nation you were.” Johnson, Sacred Waters, p. 117. See VIDEOS by Carol Cooper

At least three young Koori adults die of tuberculosis near the Nulla Nulla camp.


Burragorang Valley. The Aborigines Protection Board lists the number of full descent people as 3, and the number of “half-castes”, 58.


Electoral rolls reveal 23 Koori people living on the Cox’s River of the families Shepherd, Longbottom, Toliman, Hilton, Sherritt, Reilly, Lord and Saunders. Johnson, Sacred Waters, p. 49.


Father Considine writes to the Cardinal on behalf of Archie Shepherd who states ‘most emphatically’ that he refuses to recognise the Church’s authority over the farm… and if the 40 acres could also be recovered from the crown it would be very advantageous as it would complete the farm.’ Goodall, p. 146.

The 351 miners employed at Yerranderie include the Gandangara man Jack Sherritt.


Birth of Mary Rosina Gough (Molly Dixon), she marries John Madden in 1936. She is the descendant of Gilbert Namut of the Cabrogal Liverpool Clan.