Port Macquarie-Hastings Council respects the First Peoples – the Birpai – who are the traditional custodians of the lands of the Hastings region. We also acknowledge and respect other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who call our region home.

Information on the Birpai peoples is fragmentary and at this point, there is no definitive work on their history or culture. The following links are to websites containing information on the Birpai or to scans of articles or book sections that the library has collected.

N.B. There are a number of variant spellings of the name Birpai. References also appear in the literature to Biripi, Birripai, Bripi, Biripai, Birrbay etc.

Totems of the Birpai

The Birpai people are the traditional custodians of our local country. The country was created during The Dreaming when the Ancestral Beings wandered, forming the rivers, mountains, plants, animals and other natural features. The Dreaming is a powerful life force that connects Aboriginal people to the land and to a complex system of spiritual beliefs and cultural practices.

Totems classify all things including plants, animals, birds and people. They provide a link between the natural world and kinship relationships with spiritual beliefs and personal responsibilities.

The shark, eagle, kangaroo, bass, stingray, porpoise and crab are examples of Birpai totems.

Aboriginal Stories of the Mid-North Coast

Uncle Bill O’Brien mixes the Birpai language with English to welcome you to his country, Birpai Country. In doing so, Uncle Bill asks you to respect the ocean, land, rivers and other natural delights as this respect ensures the health of our country and its people. Enjoy the words of Uncle Bill and engage with his desire to ensure the cultural continuation of Birpai people.

From the Legendary Pacific Coast website.

Birpai Yarns

Listening, Learning and Writing the Next Chapter

Birpai Yarns is a joint story telling project between schools and community. Sharing the history of our elders whilst practicing a variety of literacy skills.

Documents & resources

The documents below are an attempt to collect and present the available published literature on the Birpai people. They need to be read in the historical context of the times in which they were written and therefore some do not reflect contemporary cultural values and sensitivities.




Two ways Together: Regional Report – North Coast (2006)
This report gathers data about Aboriginal people and the government services provided to them in the North Coast region of NSW.


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