The Ngunawal people are the Indigenous Australian inhabitants whose traditional lands encompass much of the area now occupied by the city of Canberra and the surrounding Australian Capital Territory.
When first encountered by European settlers in the 1820s, the Ngunawal people lived in an area roughly bounded by what is now the towns of Braidwood, Goulburn, Boorowa, Harden, Gundagai and Cooma. The Ngunawal people are neighbours of the Yuin (on the coast), Ngarigo (south east of Canberra), Wiradjuri (to the west of Yass) and Gundungurra (to the north) peoples.
A more detailed account of Ngunawal history can be found at www.ngunawal.com.au.
The Ngunawal people are still actively involved in the protection and preservation of our culture.
Tyronne Bell is a Ngunawal descendant who grew up in Yass, learning traditional culture from his father Don Bell (senior). Challenging early experiences helped shape his lifelong passion for the advancement of Aboriginal issues. Tyronne has become a strong advocate for the recognition of Aboriginal culture and language, in particular the culture and language of the Ngunawal people.
Since 1986 Tyronne has been involved in many Aboriginal cultural heritage surveys to protect and conserve Aboriginal culture and heritage.
Tyronne’s passion for his Aboriginal culture and heritage and his desire to share this knowledge with others led to the establishment of Thunderstone Cultural and Land Management Services Aboriginal Corporation in July 2013 to promote awareness of the rich Aboriginal culture and history of the local region.
Thunderstone and joint venture partners have conducted many Aboriginal cultural programs, activities and tours across Canberra in schools, childcare centres, government and non-government agencies, corporate and community organisations.
Seeing an opportunity for expansion, Thunderstone and joint venture partners developed the first ever Aboriginal tourism product in the Australian Capital Territory – Dharwra Aboriginal Cultural Tours. Dharwra tours will share Aboriginal cultural knowledge with the local, domestic and international markets.
In 2016, on two separate occasions, Tyronne and Glen Freeman had the privilege to assist Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull in learning and with pronunciation of Ngunawal language for his Closing the Gap speech and the Opening of Parliament. This was the first time in Australian history that a Prime Minister used Aboriginal language to address Parliament.
Tyronne has also been involved in a documentary with Professor Brian Cox to interpret the stars and explain the creation and balance of the solar system.
Tyronne was pleased to be involved with garden designers Jim Fogarty and Charlie Solomon in the creation of the ‘Mununja the Butterfly’ garden at the National Arboretum Canberra. The garden’s concept and design is based on the Ngunawal Dreamtime story of ‘Mununja the Butterfly’ as told by his father and Ngunawal elder Don Bell (senior).
Tyronne also has connections with the non-Indigenous community and has been deeply involved in many community-based activities and projects over the years.
Veronica (Ronnie) Jordan
Veronica is a Kalkadoon woman from Mt Isa. She has been teaching and working with her culture for a number of years.
Veronica is a proficient trainer specialising in traditional Indigenous games, traditional painting techniques, traditional coil basket weaving and shares her knowledge on bush tucker plants.
She has taught Indigenous culture to a wide range of people from children to the elderly, Indigenous and non-Indigenous.
She has completed a Certificate IV in Land Management.
Adam Shipp Is a Wiradjuri man who has grown up and lives in Canberra, Ngunawal country. Adam is passionate about his culture and passing on his knowledge to Aboriginal youth and peers in his community. Some of the programs Adam has been involved in, includes:
Working with schools/groups developing educational bush tucker gardens. Through his position at Greening Australia he has provided schools with native bush tucker plants from the local region and speaks to children about their cultural significance in traditional Aboriginal culture. Other activities include how to identify native plants, animals and understand their cultural significance; teaching students skill based learning around environmental activities such as native seed collecting, plant propogation, nursery skills and planting trees in the landscape.
Adam has also worked closely with Campbell page RTO inside the Canberra prison delivering a Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander detainees. Adam has also facilitated formal training to College aged students who will obtain a certificate of attainment in Conservation and Land Management upon completion.
Adam’s dream is to start his own business where he can train and employ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. He is keen to work with more schools, organisations and business’s setting up educational bush tucker gardens around the ACT and continue his work with Aboriginal youth and detainees.
Jayden Goodrem was born in Fremantle and grew up in Darwin and Canberra. He is a descendant of the Peramangk people of South Australia.
Despite his youth, Jayden is one of the most distinguished didgeridoo players in Canberra. He has played for many crowds of varying sizes at a range of different events. He also teaches didgeridoo to classes and one-on-one.
He is devoutly interested in all things cultural, not only his own but of others all around the world.
Jayden is focused on helping to make the culture of the Australian Indigenous people all across Australia thrive as a living modern culture as well as doing what he can to help teach the younger generations about Australian Indigenous culture.