First Occupants of the Clyde Area

Accounts by Thomas Patterson

Bunurong: Six Seasons

Bunurong Language


History for Students

Stories and Inquests

Clubs and Organisatons

First Occupants of the Clyde Area
The Bunurong People

The Bunurong extended family are the first people ever to occupy the Clyde area."Barnibyrnong" was the name of their site on the Cardinia Creek. It was a favourite camping area on their journey from Westernport and Port Phillip Bay areas to the Dandenongs on hunting expeditions.

Kulin Nation map showing the area used by the Bunurong people.

The Bunurong tribe. also spelt as Boonwurrung, belonged to the Kulin nation who showed great skill in perfectly adapting to their environmental conditions

They hunted kangaroos, possums, wombats, caught eels in Tooradin, and were very fond of shellfish.

In fact some oyster shells were found in Clyde North. The name "Barnibyrnong" actually means the "haunt of the ring-tail opossum" so you can guess what was on the menu there.

Jacky and Billy were Bunurong people who once lived on a hill north of Hardys Road in the 1890's.

Alexander Patterson's son, Tom, met Bunurong families who camped near St Germains on the Cardinia Creek. As a boy he learnt some Bunurong language. Later, when as an adult he lived in Malvern, Thomas Patterson called his home "Barnibyrnong".

In 1935, Mrs C. Taylor, of Cranbourne, who lived in the district for 83 years had vivid recollections of Aboriginals being as numerous as white people at the popular Cranbourne markets in the early days. She arrived in Cranbourne from overseas in 1835 when she was about 17 years old.

Aboriginal trackers were stationed at Dandenong and called upon in searching for people in many parts of Victoria.

The meteorite located in Lineham's paddock at Clyde in 1853, had special significance to the Bunurong people. Glenda Tait and Jean Hermon, two great grandchildren of James and Charlotte Lineham remember the stories from their grandmother, Susannah Beazley (nee Lineham), who said that the meteorite was worshipped by the Aborigines who came to the property and that it was special to them and they cried when they saw it being taken away.

1.The Good Country p 10
2. Thomas Patterson Articles. (Interview, Letter to Argus, Family History)
3. Local Information: Mr James Dee, June, 2010
4. Mrs C. Taylor: The Argus, 14 Oct 1935
5. Casey Cardinia- links to our past. Wednesday, 24 June 2009-Cranbourne Meteorites
7. ' I Succeeded Once' , Marie Hansen Fels The Aboriginal Protectorate of the Mornington Peninsula, 1839-1840
Full Downloadable version " I Succeeded Once" from the Australian National University website
8. Shire of Casey: Thematic Environmental History of Case
9. Shire of Cardinia Urban Growth Corridor Aboriginal Heritage Study 2004.
D Rhodes and J Bell.