The Traditional owners of Bega are the Djiringanj people of the Yuin Nation. From ancient times they have been the inhabitants and custodians of the land, sea and waterways.
Evidence is limited but the tabulation of marriages makes it quite clear that the far south coast formed a distinct region marked by the intensity of intermarriage while demonstrated that there were, nevertheless, links with Gippsland and the Monaroo prior to colonisation as would be expected, since few if any groups lived completely isolated from their neighbours.
The Tadjera-Munji-Djiringanj (from Cape Dromedary south to beyond Bega, inland to the sharp scarp of the Dividing Range east of Nimmitabel), Thaua (north of Merimbula south to Green Cape and west to the scarp of the Dividing Range), Bidawahal (just south of Green Cape) and Nulliker (Twofold Bay), Monaroo (on the escarpment country) groups comprised the Yuin-Monaro Nations in the area now known as the Bega Valley Shire. This was the case for many thousands of years.
The groups of the Yuin communities living in coastal areas are known as (Katungal from the work Katung) sea coast people and the Baianbal or Paienbara (the tomahawk people) those who lived in the forests. A third group, the Bemerigal or mountain people at Cooma belonged to the Ngarigo people.
Sites throughout the Shire demonstrate occupation by these rich cultures to be in excess of 7,000+ years. These people nurtured an organised and active culture many thousands of years older than the creators of the great pyramids of Giza did or the medieval monuments of Stonehenge did. Some of the oldest physical records of human occupation and activity to be found anywhere in the world are located beneath our noses here in the Bega Valley Shire.