Aboriginal History - Sacred sites

Georges River sandstone rock overhangs were often decorated with images and hand stencils

Scattered throughout the area are many sites of cultural significance

One of these is what is known as a 'first contact' site - where local Dharawal people had drawn charcoal sketches of bulls that had escaped from Sydney Cove and made their way to what was known as "the Cowpastures" - an area near Campbelltown.

As colonists moved from Sydney Cove into this area interaction between the settlers and the Dharawal people was sometimes peaceful but not always.

Some Europeans developed a close rapport with the local Aboriginal communities and a number of explorers had Dharawal men accompany them on exploratory trips. Knowledge of their land and skills in tracking were valuable and they later played an integral part in solving the murder of Fred Fisher, who has become a local legend.

There were however growing hostilities between the Colonial settlers and the Dharawal, Dharug and Gandangara people across the south western region of Sydney, and in 1816 Governor Macquarie ordered an attack on the Dharawal people living in the 'Cow Pastures'. This was the first military ordered massacre of Aboriginal people in Australia and the attack saw many of the local Dharawal people perish in what is known as the Appin Massacre.

Today Campbelltown City has one of the largest urban populations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in New South Wales.

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Aboriginal history of Campbelltown

Campbelltown's Aboriginal History Brochure Cover

View our Campbelltown's Aboriginal History Booklet(PDF, 1MB), to discover more history.