Aboriginal Country & The Botanists Way

The Botanists Way traverses the traditional Country of several Aboriginal language groups. These areas did not have strict boundaries and may have changed over time. The Botanists Way links Darug areas in the east to Wiradjuri country in the west, whilst also passing through or skirting Darkinjung lands (north-east) and Gundungara traditional tribal country in the south-west.

Aboriginal people have long used the ridge-top route along the Bell Range to move through the mountains. It was part of an ancient network of pathways which connected people with Country and with each other. People travelled to trade, to share information, to get food and other resources, to fight, to visit family and friends, for ceremonial obligations and much more. Stories, songs and dances helped Aboriginal people remember important information about their Country.

The Bell Range route did not become known to white settlers until 1823, when Darug guides Emery (also known as Lawyer) and Cogy (also known as Jackie Cogg) led 19-year-old Archibald Bell over Mount Tomah and on to Hartley Vale. Emery is recorded as being from the Windsor or Kurrajong areas, and Cogy was from the Cattai area.