Note to readers: This is one of a series of post simply recording other web entries on the Anaiwan people. This particular post is the 'Welcome to Country' given by Steve Widders, a descendant of the Anaiwan, at the NAIDOC Aboriginal Flag Raising Ceremony at Booloominbah, University of New England, 9 July 2007
Yugga danya Ngawanya -I am a Man of the Anaiwan people.
Roonyahra tanya tampida Ngawanya - This is the ancestral land of the Ngawanya.
Ootila tanya yoonyarah -I welcome you to this land.
The traditional custodians
At the University of New England graduation ceremonies, the Vice-Chancellor acknowledges firstly the Anaiwan then the names of neighbouring tribes; the Dhunghutti to the south-east, the Gumbaingerri to the north-east, and the Kamilaroi to the west.
Many local Aboriginal residents have claim to at least one but as many as all these groups. There is much evidence and research that documents the Anaiwan as the original inhabitants and acknowledges the other groups as being associated with and having extensive interaction with the land on which Armidale was settled.
Tribal boundaries change with the physical landscape, hence Anaiwan is on the Tablelands, and Dhunghutti is on the eastern side of the Pt Lookout escarpment down to the coast at Kempsey north of the Macleay River. Gumbaingerri is a coastal tribe whose lands come inland south of Grafton and east around Guyra and Ebor. The Kamilaroi are a plains group west of the Gwydir River and the Great Divide.
Tamworth is in Kamilaroi country which ends at the top of the Moonbis, and where Anaiwan begins. Uralla, Bundarra and places such as Hillgrove, Wollomombi, Rockvale, Tilbuster, Black Mountain, Dumaresq, Tingha, Inverell and all places within that boundary are Anaiwan country.
Aboriginal people looked after the land and did not claim exclusive ownership by building fences or other barriers. They were custodians. Their responsibility and boundaries changed with the physical landscape. As well as the land, the custodians were responsible for such things as the animals, waterways, flora, ceremonial grounds, food supplies, plants and vegetation which contained medicinal qualities.