Brisbane Water formed part of the traditional lands of the Guringai (or Kuring-gai) Aboriginal people, who fished in the rivers and lived on the surrounding land. There is debate as to whether the traditional lands of Darkinyung or Darkinung people extended to the coast (not to be confused with the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council, who are the self-appointed caretakers of the Central Coast area and do not claim to be the traditional owners of this area). There are many significant Aboriginal site around Brisbane Water, including Bulgandry, Daleys Point and Staples Lookout. This area has one of the highest densities of Aboriginal heritage sites around Sydney.
A significant site near Bulgandry in Kariong: "The whole group is particularly well drawn, and presents one of the best samples of this native art that the Writer has met with"