Narungga people have always lived on Yorke Peninsula. Our country extends as far north as Port Broughton and east to the Hummock Ranges. Our neighbours were the Kaurna of the Adelaide Plains and the Nukunu to the north, with whom the Narungga would meet for trade and ceremony. The Narungga nation was made up of four clans, the Kurnara in the north of the peninsula, Windera in the east, Wari in the west and Dilpa in the south.
Narungga people have lived and travelled throughout the Point Pearce area long before the arrival of Europeans. To our mob it was known as Bookooyanna. Campsites can be found everywhere, especially along the coast, where stone tools, food remains and old fire places occur in abundance. Indeed throughout the entire Yorke Peninsula, the Point Pearce and Chinaman's Well area contains perhaps the richest record of presence.
The area has many attractions, reefs rich in shell fish, good fishing and hunting, a wealth of bush foods and perhaps, most importantly, reliable fresh water which could be obtained from a series of wells and springs along the coast. Located at the Willows, these soaks would later become the main water supply for Point Pearce Mission
Gynburra "Big Butterfish"
The Gynburra (or Butterfish) is significant to the Narungga people, it is a generous and plentiful source of food and also a term of acknowledgement and identity to the Narungga people as the 'Butterfish Mob'.
The Gynburra is the traditional Narungga name for the butterfish and has been acknowledged through the naming of this festival.
The Gynburra was traditionally hunted with harpoons on reefs with the incoming tide. Men would wade in the water and often make slight movements with their feet to stir sand which would attract the inquisitive and somewhat docile fish. The Gynburra would investigate to see if the movement was edible prey such small crustaceans. As the Gynburra would circle and venture closer, the men poised and with such skill and purpose, would harpoon the Gynburra.
The fish provides a flesh that would be enjoyed by all. Today, we have evolved the spearing of the Gynburra by way of boats , snorkelling gear, and spear-guns to seek out the Gynburra for not only the feast, but for the title of 'Butterfish King'.
Spearing a Butterfish
Josh Smith spearing a butterfish for the Clem Graham Snr Memorial Butterfish Competition in 2016.