It is widely acknowledged that prior to European settlement the traditional owners of the Ashfield Municipal area were Aboriginal peoples from the Eora (Darug) group. The Eora group consisted of smaller groups or ‘bands’. Eight bands have been identified along the Parramatta River. Two of these eight bands, the Cadigal and Wangal, most likely lived in the area that now makes up the Ashfield municipality (Ashfield Council, 2009).
Aboriginal people lived along the Cooks River for thousands of years prior to European arrival. They had developed an enormous body of knowledge and skills to harness the resources provided by the river and surrounding lands. This included trapping birds and animals, exploiting fish and shellfish, gathering plants, removing bark from trees to create carrying dishes and canoes, making use of sandstone shelters for occupation and the creation of art.