Traditional Owners – Yuin

The Yuin people are considered to be the traditional owners of the land here at Beachcomber Holiday Park. It is from their language that the Bodalla town name derived its name. Several meanings have been put forward including “Boat Alley", "tossing a child up in the arms", "haven for boats" and "several waters"

Yuin refers to a group of Australian Aboriginal peoples from the South Coast of New South Wales. All Yuin people share in common, ancestors who spoke as their first language, one or more of the Yuin language dialects, including Djiringanj, Thaua, Walbanga, or Wandandian and Dhurga language (from Narooma to Nowra)

The name Yuin (“man”) was selected by the early Australian ethnographer A. W. Howitt to denote two distinct tribes of News South Wales, namely the Djiringanj and the Thaua. In Howitt’s work, the Yuin were divided into northern (Kurial-Yuin) and southern (Gyangal-Yuin) branches.

The country the Yuin ancestors occupied, used, and enjoyed reached across from Cape Howe to the Shoalhaven River and inland to the Great Dividing Range. The Yuin people consisted of 12 clans at the time of European arrival in the area. Three of the Yuin groups include:

Walbanga, north of present-day Narooma

Murramurang, north of Deua River south of Lake Conjola

Dyiringanj, or Djiringanj, from Narooma, south to Bega and west to the top of the range

The population before 1788 has been estimated at about 11 000 between Cape Howe and Batemans Bay. The population was reduced to only 600 by the mid nineteenth century due to smallpox epidemics in 1789 and 1830, as well as tribal battles and the spread of disease from whalers.

The Yuin are considered as the traditional owners of Wallaga Lake land. The former Wallaga Lake National Park is incorporated into Gulaga National Park.mMerriman Island in Wallaga Lake is a sacred place for the Yuin people.

On 25 November 1977, it was the first place in NSW to be declared an Aboriginal Heritage site by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. The island was named after King Merriman, leader of the Yuin, who died in 1904.