CrossFit GEO acknowledges the Wallumedegal clan and the land on which it is built

Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.

Did you know that the history of the Aboriginal people of Australia dates back to 65,000+ years – the oldest continuing culture on the planet.

That is something that should be acknowledged, and it is something that we should be proud of as a nation.

Today marks the start of NAIDOC week.

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Australians.

We thought it was well overdue for us to acknowledge the land on which CrossFit GEO has been built.

CrossFit GEO is located on Wallumedegal land.

“……..Aboriginal people lived for thousands of years in what we call the City of Ryde. When the first Europeans settled at Sydney Cove in 1788 the traditional owners of this area were the Wallumedegal. That name was told to Captain Arthur Phillip, first governor of the convict colony of New South Wales, by Woollarawarre Bennelong who came from the clan called the Wangal on the south side of the river.

It is likely that the name Wallumedegal or Wallumattagal was derived from wallumai the snapper fish, combined with matta, a word used to describe a place, usually a water place, as with Parramatta and Cabramatta. That would mean they were the snapper clan and the fish was their totem, just as burra (the eel) was the totem of the Burramatta or Boromeda-gal or clan at Parramatta and cobra (the white grub of the shipworm) that of the Cobragal at present Liverpool and Cabramatta. 

Wallumedegal territory followed the north bank of the Parramatta River from Turrumburra (Lane Cove River) in the east to Burramatta at the head of the river to the west. The northern boundary would logically be the Lane Cove River and the northern neighbours therefore the Cameragal or spear clan. Further east, opposite the Cameragal, were the Cadigal, a harbour-dwelling clan, which occupied the present Eastern Suburbs and City of Sydney, from Inner South Head to Darling Harbour. 

Portrait of Bennelong with armorial bearings
Bennelong with armorial bearings published in 1798

The Wallumedegal survived for generations in a rich environment of river flats, creeks and mangrove swamps, fishing with pronged spears and handlines, feasting on shellfish, hunting birds and small game, and collecting a variety of edible bushfood plants. They spoke the same language as the Port Jackson and coastal clans, from Botany Bay to Broken Bay. The dialect of the sea coast, wrote Marine Captain Watkin Tench, was spoken at Rose Hill (Parramatta). The dialect of the same language west of Parramatta is now called Darug. 

The first encounters between the foreigners in boats and the river people in February 1788 were friendly, with laughter and mimicry on both sides. Their lives changed forever the following November when armed marines built an earthwork fort at Parramatta.


This action displaced the family of the Burramattagal elder Maugoran and his wife Gooroobera, who were forced to move down the river to The Flats, near Meadowbank. Then in April 1789 came the smallpox epidemic, which Bennelong said killed half the Indigenous population. Smallpox might account for the fact that no Wallumedegal are identified in history, unless, which is possible, either or both of Maugoran’s wives, Gooroobera or Bidgee Bidgee – mother Tadyera who died of dysentery, were Wallumedegalleon (wallumedagaliang), or women belonging to the clan.

Significant Aboriginal People of Ryde

The most enduring symbol of the Aboriginal presence in the City of Ryde is the grave of Bennelong and Nanbarry, two key figures in the history of early Sydney. 

Bidgee Bidgee 1803

Bennelong, who was captured late in 1789 on the orders of Governor Arthur Phillip, escaped after six months. In October 1790, one month after Phillip was speared at Manly Cove, Bennelong came in peacefully to the settlement at Sydney. Phillip built him a brick hut at Tubowgulye, now Bennelong Point, and took him to England two years later. 

Bennelong died in 1813 and was buried in the orchard of brewer James Squire at Kissing Point (Ryde) where he had lived for some time. When Nanbarry, nephew of Colebee the Cadigal elder, died in August 1821 he was buried at his request with Bennelong and his last wife, who might have been Boorong, sister of Bidgee Bidgee. They lie together somewhere overlooking the river close to Bennelong Park. 

For twenty years the most prominent leader in this district was Maugoran’s youngest son, Bidgee Bidgee, made chief of Kissing Point in 1816 by Governor Lachlan Macquarie, who also gave him a brass breastplate and a fishing boat. Bidgee Bidgee meant a river flat. 

Bennelong, Nanbarry and Bidgee Bidgee went on long sea voyages in English sailing ships, but they spent their last years at Kissing Point. Bundle, was another key figure in the area who tracked robbers for Squire in 1804 when he was district constable……”

This section is an abstract from the paper, Wallumedegal : An Aboriginal History of Ryde, written by Keith Vincent Smith who was recommended by the Warawara Department of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University. Since 1993 he has established a track record as a researcher and author of Aboriginal history and anthropology.

2020 – where to from here for GEO?

I am not stating anything ground breaking when I say that 2020 has been a real doozy of a year! For many, it has been a year that could very easily be rocketed off to a black hole somewhere in the universe, never to return again to our reality.

I like to view it through a different lens. For me, 2020 has forced me to stop and examine what I am doing; to reflect, do a stocktake on my life, and make changes for the better.

Old habits, actions and “baggage” that didn’t serve me have been cast off. Things that I have procrastinated about doing, have been started. There is still more to be done in the context of both, but it’s a process.

And the same goes for GEO.

When it comes to the gym…..your Box…..your second home (for some), we have been through a lot and many changes have been made.

GEO has evolved.

We have closed down and reopened again; we have run online classes and park classes; the Coaches have pivoted through different methods of coaching; we have moved the rig and reorganised the gym floor; we have put on extra classes (4pm); we have reintroduced Talon and the Young Guns; we have reduced class size and increased class size; we have initiated strict cleaning protocols; we have introduced a heap of new people to the GEO community; we are running warm-ups outside; we have improved our programming; we have a podcast now, and the list goes on……

What other changes are coming GEO’s way?

We want to grow our community – introduce more people to this very special thing we have going.

Competitions are bound to start again, so we will look at doing some competition specific classes, and then get out there and show everyone what GEO members can do.

We want to get our Teens classes up and running again because there is a gap there between our Young Guns and our regular members.

We desperately want to start hosting big social events again so that you can all get to know each other better, and forge new friendships.

We want to travel again and do some charity work overseas.

We want to get you out of the gym to explore new challenges and activities.

And the physical gym will continue to transform into something better.

There’s lots to come. It is exciting to know that we have not reached our potential yet. Stay with us on the journey.

GEO will continue to GROW, EXPLORE and OVERCOME.

Tuesday Nastix

CrossFit Geo – XFIT

View Public Whiteboard


Metcon (No Measure)

E2MOM 12 Minutes

1) 10 Strict Chin-ups + 10 Push-ups

2) 10 T2B + 10 Strict HSPU


Metcon (Time)

4 Rounds for time:

20 Single arm DB Thrusters @22.5/15kg

(10 each side)

10 Single arm Devil Press @22.5/15kg

(Alt. every rep, 5 each side)

5 Box Jumps @30/24″

Running – get better at it & improve your WOD times

Running is one of those things that you either love or hate.

I used to hate it.

I am still not very fond of it, but I am trying to turn that around.

Just like we learned how to perform a Snatch when we started CrossFit, and over time, improved our technique and efficiency, the same can be done for Running. But for some reason, we take Running for granted and do not feel a need to actually improve our Running style and technique. Which is ironic because it makes up a frequent part of our programming at GEO (200m Runs, 400m Runs, Intervals, etc) and can have a huge impact on our overall performance in workouts.

When we become better at Running not only do we complete the “Running” portion of a workout quicker, we do so in a less fatigued state and the body adapts to recover faster.

We’ve all been there – we come back from a Run panting heavily and take a break before commencing our set of wallballs, or burpees or whatever. And as we try to get our breath back, we look around the room and see some people get straight into the next movement after only taking a very short break or no break at all. What the?!

Now some people are just “fit” and technically sound across the many different things we do in CrossFit, which means they can move more efficiently across all types of movements whilst expending less effort, and thus move between the different parts of a workout quicker.

But something I have noticed is that those athletes who are good Runners tend to also have good engines which, strength and technique aside, means they catch their breath faster and finish workouts quicker (this is a generalisation).

It is a phenomenon that I have witnessed over 12 years of CrossFitting, both competitively and for general fitness, but my hate of Running meant I never addressed this weakness……..until now.

After naively completing a marathon distance over the course of a weekend during Iso, with zero prep, it became clear to me that I really needed to fix my Running style because not 1km into the Run my knees were giving me grief……..and I still had 41kms to go.

Now I know some of you are going to say, “you should have trained for it’, or “why would you even attempt such thing?” Yes, I should have, and, I wanted to challenge myself. But if I had trained for it by Running and accumulating kms, I still would have injured myself, which would have lead to frustration and disappointment, and I probably would not have attempted the challenge at all.

No, my poor Running technique was what needed to be tweaked first.

Think about it – when we teach you how to do a complex movement (Oly Lift, Handstand Push-up, Muscle-up) in the gym, we focus firstly on your technique, and then we add complexity, load or speed. So why should Running be any different? I needed to focus on my technique, and then add distance and speed.

This is what I have been doing.

I am finally putting into practice the skills and drills that Mark Uren (our oldest member and one of our fittest, which has not only come from his commitment to training but also his years of Running…….efficiently) shared in his Running Workshop. I am shortening my stride. I am being light on my feet. I am using a Metronome to work on my pacing. I am starting with small distances but doing it regularly. I am not heel striking.

I am not hoping to be the best Runner at GEO. I just want to be better than what I currently am, and the only way that will happen is with consistent practice.

I can say that after a couple of months of focus, my Running style and efficiency have improved. When I come in from a 400m Run, I am transitioning faster than what I used to during workouts. I am actively trying to get to the workouts that have Running in them, instead of avoiding them or getting anxious about them. Yeah, I might be the Coach but just like you, there are things I like to do and things I do not like to do. And if you want to be good at CrossFit, you have to address your weaknesses.

So……..where am I going with all of this? On October 18 2020, the City to Surf will be held as a virtual event. It costs about $30 to register. Mark Uren has created a CrossFit GEO team.

This event presents us with an opportunity to not only work on our Running, but also a chance to do something together as a community. This year COVID has really thrown a spanner in the works with regards to how we train together, but also how we bond through various social events (which we have not been able to do). This City to Surf event may very well be the first chance we get to hook up on a grand scale and do something together.

And it will give all you Run-haters/avoiders some motivation to work on this important part of CrossFit.

Between now and Race-day, on a semi-regular basis, we will be meeting at 7am on Sunday mornings down at the Bay Run to do some Running drills. As with everything we do, scaling is always an option. We may be doing 5 x 500m jogs. You can do 3 or 4 of them. I realise that much of the fear of Running is in the head, so you can take it as easy as you need to to ensure you are coming along and being consistent.

Yesterday was the first meeting of the GEO Running Group – myself, Mark and Julie Uren. Julie and I did 3 x 1kms Runs. Mark did 4 x 1km Runs.

This Sunday we will meet again at 7am. The meeting point will be in the carpark on the western side of the Iron Cove Bridge (Gladesville-side) beside Total Conditioning Gym. There is a cafe nearby if that is an extra enticement.

Oh, and one other thing, if you do not want to run the City to Surf, please still free to join us on Sundays. It is open to everyone at no charge. And if you want to do the City to Surf with a friend/s and split it up, then feel free to do that as well.

I just want to get everyone together.

Here is the link to register.

~Coach AB

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