|aka: Bigabul, Pikambul, Bigambal, Preagalgh, Wigal-wollumbul, Wee-n' gul-la-m' bul |
|Area (approx. 26,500 sq. km)|
|Bioregion:||Northern Tablelands and Border Rivers|
|Location:||New South Wales – Queensland border|
The Bigambul people are an Aboriginal Australian people of the Northern Tablelands and Border Rivers regions of New South Wales and Queensland.
In the traditional language, the name of this group is derived from the Bigambul word biga or pika which translates in English to yes. The Bigambul are bounded to the south–east by the Ngarabal, the Kamilaroi to the south, the Kooma to the west, the Mandandanji and Kabi to the north, and the Baruŋgam to the north–east.
Norman Tindale ascribed to the Bigambul a traditional territory spreading over 26,500 square kilometres (10,200 sq mi) east of Nindigully, on the Weir and Moonie rivers, north to Tara; at Talwood; on the Macintyre River from east of Boomi to Texas; at Yetman, Boggabilla, and at Middle Creek.
Source: Tindale 1974, p. 166
The Bigambul have a cultural connection with the northern Kamilaroi people and these people regularly participated in joint ceremonies at Boobera Lagoon.
The Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies states that the Bigambul language was used by the Bigambul people, with Gambuwal and Kwiambal (or Gujambal) known dialects. However, it is more likely that the Gamilaraay (or Yuwaaliyaay) language was used by those peoples living in southern Bigambul territory.
The Bigambul people actively opposed European colonisation of their territory. From the early 1840s they mounted a 14–year guerrilla campaign to expel the settlers. The Bigambul leadership understood the importance of economics in warfare and they specifically targeted horses and cattle rather than just the settlers themselves. The campaign was initially successful with 17 selections being abandoned in Macintyre region in 1843, of which only 13 were re-occupied when Europeans returned 3 years later. The economic war was so successful that it is recorded that one selection was making a loss of £150 per year until 1849. The tide of the campaign turned in 1848 when the Governor set aside £1000 to form the Native Police and appointed Frederick Walker to command them. Walker took the battle to the Bigambul, attacking them in their camps with his stated objective being their annihilation. By 1851 the economic war was effectively over, land values in the area doubled and the wages paid by settlers to employees were halved. Most of the work done on selections in the area was performed by Aborigines in return for food rations. By 1854 only 100 of the Bigambul people were left alive.
On 23 February 2001 the Bigambul people lodged a successful native title claim over 24,188 square kilometres (9,339 sq mi) in South Western Queensland.