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Tribute to Les Bursill, OAM and friend of the Royal

Friends of Royal would like to acknowledge the significant and pivotal role that Leslie William Bursill OAM made through his work to preserve and record Dharawal culture and language. In particular Les proved instrumental in creating the modern record of the language of the Dharawal through his own extensive research and by his publications. He also achieved extensive records of the Dharawal cultural heritage, cave paintings and rock engravings in the Royal National Park and the surrounding Sutherland shire.

This has been of great benefit at large to the state of NSW and of paramount importance for the local Aboriginal community, archaeologists, historians, linguists, botanists, biologists, surrounding local councils, local residents and tourists through the creation of a wealth of written material and inspirational on-site visits for those fortunate enough to have experienced them.

Friends of Royal acknowledges the Dharawal as the rightful custodians of the land. Thankfully the Royal National Park has acted as a conservation zone for their rock art and engravings and the work of Les has been pivotal in recording this.

The desire for a greater understanding of the Royal National Park and the surrounding Sutherland Shire in times pre-first contact and the chase for more information on the Dharawal leads in many ways to the work of Les. His work will always be greatly appreciated as will his calm assuring manner. Les was always forthcoming in his help for others and in particular through his positive contribution to local schools. His encouragement for those pursuing an appreciation of Aboriginal culture will not be forgotten.


Ian Hill

President Friends of Royal, March 2019

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