Join us on a journey...........
Dirranbandi is about 100 kilometres south of St George, with an Aboriginal population of around 110 of a total population of 450. The town used to be a source of workers – Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal - on neighbouring large cotton farms; however as farmers increasingly use contract labour from out of town, Dirranbandi has suffered economically................(click to continue)
The town of St George is a bustling rural community with a rich Aboriginal history. Today, there are around 600 Aboriginal people living in St George, which has a total population of around 3,300 people. Aboriginal history can best be seen through a walk that begins on the western side of the Balonne River at the picturesque weir, a dramatic sight when the floodgates open after heavy rain. Across the road from the fishing camp is the old Aboriginal camping ground known as ‘Hollywood’, with a sign and artwork to commemorate the site. Hollywood was bulldozed in the 1960s. Further up the road from Hollywood is a group of wild lime trees, and another of quandong trees. Along with rabbit and fish, these trees were important sources of food for Aboriginal people in the camp............... (click to continue)
The town of Surat is a small, close-knit community, on the Balonne River. The river connects past and present: it is an important part of life in Surat today, it was the site of segregated Aboriginal camps during much of the twentieth century, and, long before European colonization, it was home to many Aboriginal people. The Combarngo, Manns and Hazzard families, part of the Mandandanji people who are the Traditional Owners of the land all around Surat, lived on the north side of the river. Other families, including the Mundy and Cleven families, lived on the south side. Their camps consisted of humpies and tents, and here the families raised their children, sent them to school in town, and went out to work on rural properties, in industrial jobs or as domestics in non-Aboriginal households. After the 1967 national referendum which allowed the Commonwealth to legislate for Aboriginal people, Queensland’s oppressive laws and controls over Aboriginal people ended and the families on both sides of the river were eventually relocated to town. However the families have ensured that the memory of their life in the camps will survive, through artefacts and storyboards accessible by visitors...............(click to continue)
Roma, with a population of around 7,000, is the largest of the towns on the eastern edge of the South-West Indigenous Cultural Trail, and for many travellers on the eastern seaboard it is the gateway to the southwest. At first glance it may seem like other large towns, with a less visible Aboriginal history and a less obvious connection to the surrounding cultural landscapes. But Roma is at the heart of many Aboriginal stories. It embraces the intersection of stories and experiences for the entire southwest. Aboriginal families from across the region have lived in Roma at one time or another – and the stories in Roma reach out into each of the towns of the Indigenous Cultural Trail and the surrounding landscapes. The waterway that runs through Roma is Bungil Creek. Like the waterways in other towns on the Trail, Bungil Creek has been an important source of food, water and recreation for Aboriginal people for thousands of years.............(click to continue)
Cunnamulla lies furthest west on the Indigenous Cultural Trail. A small town surrounded by a distinctive landscape of deep red soil, flat clay-pans that become lakes in the wet season, and great white sand dunes that drift and merge into the edges of town (The Sand Hills). The people of Cunnamulla are strongly connected to this place. Both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal residents talk about its special qualities; a place that will always be home.............(click to continue)
Charleville (population 3,700) lies on the Warrego River, 750 km by road west of Brisbane where the Mitchell and Warrego Highways meet. It has a rich Indigenous and non-Indigenous history: artefacts from early Aboriginal camp sites along the riverbanks lie next to the ruins of old timber bridges that took the Cobb & Co stagecoach across the waterways in the 19th century. The site of the first Yumba, the Aboriginal fringe camp, lies across the road from the remains of a top secret wartime airbase built by American servicemen.............(click to continue)
When it rains, the country around Mitchell is a soft green, the plant and animal life abundant. Flowering trees and shrubs, foraging emus, the prehistoric ungainliness of bush turkeys and varied flocks of birds contribute to a noisy, fragrant and lively landscape. The richness of this country is reflected in the Gunggari artwork and signage along the Yumba Interpretive Trail to the east of the town. Here you can follow a bush path alongside the river marked by a series of bough sheds, lean-tos made of branches that each represents one of the yurdis, or totems, of the Gunggari people - Didhayn (Koala), Ulldi (carpet snake), Marul (sand goanna), Mapiyal (platypus), Baruda (red kangaroo), Guya (yellow belly fish), Warramba (long neck turtle) - that link the people with their country..............(click to continue)