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Bunganditj or Boandik peoples

(This information is provided by current representatives of the Bunganditj (or Boandik) people.)

The Bunganditj or Boandik people are the first nations and sovereign peoples of the Mount Gambier region. Their country includes the coastal area from the south of Robe to the area around the mouth of the Glenelg River at Nelson, Victoria.

The name Bunganditj comes from Bung-an-ditj or "people of the reeds", reflecting the nature of the original landscape.

Shell middens, rock shelters and burial grounds are scattered throughout the area and several sites have been dated to approximately 9,000 years. Until 5,000 years ago, the Bunganditj lived near sandy beaches and tidal estuaries, consuming large amounts of available shellfish, many of which no longer exist, as the beaches have given way to cliff-top dunes.

The wood from sheoaks and other trees was used to produce digging sticks, boomerangs, throwing sticks and other tools. Stone axes and cutting implements were made from Port MacDonnell flint.

Until the invasion of their lands in 1840, the Bunganditj had lived in the region for at least 30,000 years. Europeans introduced diseases and rapidly altered the environment to suit European farming practices. These events caused a rapid decline of the Bunganditj population.