Camping, travelling, ‘feeding off the sea’, teaching and meeting family are the dominant cultural heritage values to emerge in the Congo, Bingi Bingi and Mullumburra areas. This was to be expected given the archeological evidence relating to the past usage of the area. This section of coastline continues to be highly valued, as an area where cultural practices can be maintained in a relatively undeveloped environment.
Trisha’s grandmother, Ursula Connell said that the section between Congo and Bingi is part of a traditional dreaming track. Trisha was shown a pre-European burial site, an ochre quarry, shell middens and a natural fish trap at Congo [Trisha Ellis 4.2.2006].
Georgina recalls camping with her father on the flat ground at North Congo, by the Congo Creek. She remembers a ‘wild tribe’ of Kooris camped there also. Charlie ‘Cronjee’ Parsons, Georgina’s uncle [her father’s brother], lived with them. More recently, in 2005 Georgina camped here with some kids from Canberra, teaching them about the land [Georgina Parsons 14.12.2005].
There are ‘old time feeding grounds’ or shell middens located at South Congo, along Congo Creek. The area continues to be a well used camping and fishing area, for both black and white. Georgina recalls camping here with her mother and father in the 1940s. Little mullet were found in Congo Creek. The boys would use three pronged spears made from garara tree found at Pedro Hill. The Stewarts, Chapmans, Percy Davis, Parsons, and Carriages have all camped here from time to time. Georgina has brought her children here to teach them how to live off the land, ‘…..like a culture camp to pass on stories to the next generation…’ [Georgina Parsons 14.12.2005].
Trisha recalls seeing Aunty Alice Kearns and her husband Reggie, living in a wooden hut on the road to Congo. They drove a FJ Holden, Alice always travelled in the back seat and threw lollies to the kids as she passed by. Granny Tungai was a clever woman and had possession of ganeena beetles. She kept them in a small dilly bag and used the beetles for magical purposes. Trisha was told that Granny Tungai had no one to pass the ganeenas on to so she hid them in a hollow log [Trisha Ellis 4.2.2006].
During the 1940s and again in the 1950s Georgina camped with her family in the vicinity of Kellys Lake, in the bush behind Meringo Beach. The family collected all kinds of seafood as well as food from the surrounding bush. Kangaroos came towards Kelly’s Lake and were easy to catch. Eels would be caught in the Lake. Stories and cultural teachings would take place at this campsite. The camping site is to the south of the most southerly residence. A freshwater creek leads to the ocean at this campsite. There were no fences when Georgina and other members of the Parsons family camped here. The men caught kangaroos between here and Congo. Later as a teenager, she camped here with friends who worked together at Nerrigundah. They camped here to access fresh seafoods, after living in the bush, away from the ocean. The Parsons, Brierley, Chapman and Davis families also frequented a campsite in the Grey Rocks area, in order to dive and spear fish [Georgina Parsons 14.12.2005].
The sheltered campsite at Meringo is located along a tidal creek. Fresh water was carried in to the area from neighbouring lagoons and creeks. The Parsons and Brierley families know the Island immediately east of Meringo as Shark Island, although it is not named on the map [Georgina Parsons 14.12.2005].
Trisha has never camped at Meringo Beach; she was told people got killed there; they were driven off the cliffs into the water below. Trisha, her mother, father and younger sister Gladys lived for a period of time in a shed at Meringo, where the only means of cooking was a kerosene heater. In 1960 at the age of 3 Trisha and the family moved from here to south Moruya and then onto Bali Hai, (Garland town), Moruya [Trisha Ellis 4.2.2006].
Georgina visited Bingi Bingi often when living at the Manero farm, Meringo picking tomatoes for the Hughes family. The main camping area at Bingi is close by a shell midden on the flat, sheltered heath land to the southwest of Bingi Point. She collected purple berries to make medicine for sores and small yams from a pink flowering plant. Information pertaining to these plants is confidential. From Meringo the family would walk to Mullumburra where George Parsons would dive for muttonfish and lobster. They also walked from Meringo to Moruya, along the beach to go to the picture theatre [Georgina Parsons 6.6.2006].
Trisha recalls picnics at Bingi Bingi Point with her Nan Connell, and her Nan’s sisters during school holidays or on the weekends. They camped on the northern side of the point,sheltered from the southerly winds. Trisha and her family ate kangaroo, lobster and collected fish in the naturally occurring fish traps. Trisha was told that people, generations before her camped here, was shown all the bush foods and medicines and told dreaming stories for the area by her Nan Connell. She was told about the Dreaming track between Bingi Bingi Point and Congo, and how it was used:
“….’Bingi’ is a Dhurga word meaning stomach. When repeated as in Bingi Bingi Point it indicates abundance and therefore is interpreted to mean an abundance of food is available in this area. The Bingi-Congo walking track forms part of the Dreaming Track utilised by the Brinja-Yuin people prior to European development. The walking track (as did the Dreaming Track) brings you in close proximity to shell middens, stone quarries, napping sites, campsites and fresh water sources. There were also beacon sites for sending smoke signals, areas abundant in a particular foods and lookouts traditionally used for spotting schools of fish and visitors (wanted or unwanted) to the area. The Dreaming Track although used as a highway had a much deeper spiritual significance to the Aboriginal people in that it was, and still is believed, that the Spirit Ancestors of the people created the Dreaming Track in the journey of creation across the land. ……” [Trisha Ellis 4.2.2006].
Dad told us that the middens are where the Blackfellows ate their seafood a long time ago [Linda Cruse 1.3.2006].
Bingi Bingi is ‘….the biggest camping and eating place…. mainly at Christmas time…’ [Les Simon 03.11.2005].
It is John’s belief that the place now known as Mullumburra is actually called Bingi and the place they call Bingi should actually be called Manero. That’s what he was told by his grandfather [John Brierley 3.5.2006].
Excerpt from "Stories About the Eurobodalla by Aboriginal People", 2006. Story Contributed by Martin Ind from Moruya High School.