Culture & Heritage


There are many different kinds of totems, personal totems, skin totems, clan totems etc. So when people ask about totems it could relate to any one of many totems. Some people say the whale and some say the string ray are totems for the Central Coast people, but we do not know which type of totem this relates to so both can correct. Many totems can be seen in our local rock art.

There is many-many skin totems as there need to be a relationship to just about everything, one person has many totems.
The skin totems of the Darkinyung people have been documented by Mathews (1897). Darkinyung social systems (relationship rules) are the same or very similar to many other groups throughout NSW including the Wiradjuri, Kamilaroi, Wanggaybuwan, Wayilwan and Ngiyambaa.

The Darkinyung relationship rules consist of two moieties (blood) divide into four sections (skin/meat). Mathews (1897) documents these are as follows,

Ippai /Ippatha Bya /Matha Kumbo/Butha Kubbi /Kubbitha.
Bya marries Butha Children are Ippai (male) or Ippatha (female)
Kubbi marries Ippatha Children are Kumbo (male) or Butha(female)
Ippai marries Kubbitha Children are Murri (male) or Matha (female)
Kumbo marries Matha Children area Kubbi (male) or Kubitha (female)

Some of the documented totems for Bya and Kubbi include,
• Scrub Opossum (Possum)
• Native bee
• Emu
• Bandicoot
• Eaglehawk
• Stingaree
• Wallaroo

Some of the documented totems for Ippai and Kumbo include,
• Grey Kangaroo
• Diamond Snake
• Wombat
• Black Snake
• Wallaby

According to Ridley (1853) Darkinyung speakers had a social organisation based on sections similar to that of groups to the north-west such as the Kamilaroi.

Note. Bya is known as Murri in most other groups