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The Australian National University

Kioloa Coastal Campus - Edith and Joy London Foundation

Tindale (1974) has placed the Kioloa area within Walbanga land extending from Narooma in the south and Ulladulla to the north. The Kioloa and Murramarang regions were situated close to the boundaries on the Walbanga and Wandandian people. It is highly likely that boundaries, estates and ranges were fluid and varied over time, and as a consequence, the patterns recorded in the recent past may only represent the situation at the time of European contact.

Just to the north of Nundera Point is the Murramarang Aboriginal Area (RNE listing 14589), a 60 hectare reserve with cultural deposits dating to 12000 BP, one of only three sites on the south coast dating to the Pleistocene (NPWS 1998).

The archaeological background of the Kioloa region is extensive showing long occupation of the area dating back to over 10,000 years. Lampert (1966, 1971) examined areas both north and south of the Edith and Joy London Foundation property discovering sites that show evidence of occupation (stone tools, animal resources) that date from c.480 BP at Durras North (south of Kioloa) and c.2000 BP at Burrill Lake (north of Kioloa).

Lance (1981) performed surveys of the area on and around the Edith and Joy London Foundation Property and located twelve sites on the property; three axe grinding grooves and nine midden sites on the coastline. A much more intensive study of Nundera Point was undertaken by Sullivan (1982), concentrating on the utilisation of edible mussels by local indigenous people. Excavation of a shell midden revealed three cultural layers in a high dune at the back of the headland. Three occupation layers were identified through this analysis with calibrated radiocarbon dates of 240+80 years B.P., 740+90 years B.P. and 1700+100 years B.P. One of the most significant finds in the area was that of a human skeleton (a young adult male) found eroding out of the dunes in 1976. This skeleton was subsequently returned to the Aboriginal community at Bateman's Bay for reburial.

Hermes (1984) analysed the site of Conk's Midden 500 metres south of Nundera Point. This midden was described as a "20 centimetre deposit of shell, charcoal and organically stained sand eroding from a foredune" (Hermes 1984:4). Analysis of the shell material by Hookey (1984:11) concluded that the midden was only used for "food preparation and consumption. Stone tool manufacture did not occur here and neither did the consumption of fish, mammals or birds.....one may tentatively suggest that Conk's Midden is the manifestation of a series of midday dinnertime camps of a group of women and children."

Other surveys have concentrated on the land adjacent to an on the Edith and Joy London Foundation. Lewis (1983) performed an in depth analysis across the area identifying 18 indigenous sites in an area of 62 square kilometres west and southwest of Murramarang Point. This analysis identified 5 sites that were located within the boundaries of the Edith and Joy London Foundation property.

Titchen (1986) spent a total of 17 days surveying the Kioloa property locating a total of 27 indigenous sites including middens, grinding grooves, artefact scatters and individual artefact finds (Titchen 1986). In reference to the previous research in the area, Titchen (1986) located all but one of Lance's midden sites, a site on the south bank of Shell Point Creek was not located and only one grinding site, out of three originally located by Lance (1981) was located. The midden site near Shell Point Creek was the site not located and Titchen (1986) postulates that the cause was dune shifting, poor visibility was given as a reason for not locating the other two grinding sites. Titchen (1986) was unable to relocate any of the sites identified by Lewis (1983) and this too was put down to poor visibility.

There is documentary evidence of local Aboriginal groups utilising resources on off shore islands up and down the south coast. This ranges from Bowen Island in Jervis Bay (Harper 1826) to the Tollgate Islands on the Clyde River (Mann 1883). Captain James Cook, in 1788, noted seeing aboriginal people utilising resources on Brush Island roughly 1.5km north of Nundera Point (Hamon 1994).

With over 30 sites recorded on the DEC Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System and extensive studies undertaken by ANU undergraduates and postgraduates, there is extensive evidence for the continued occupation of the area around and including the Edith and Joy London Foundation dating back to over 10, 000 years. With Indigenous sites types including artefact scatters, axe grinding grooves, middens and even a human burial, the sites located on the Edith and Joy London Foundation represent a cultural and scientific resource that is of great value to current and future generations.

Updated:  12 December 2013/Responsible Officer:  Director, Facilities & Services Division/Page Contact:  Systems & Information Technology