Top Yumba & the 'Supermarket'
On the other side of the Warrego Highway is the ‘Top Yumba’, the original camping ground of Aboriginal people in the area, and still marked by important groups of trees and plants used for bush food and medicine. People were initially moved from the Top Yumba because they were too ‘visible’ to the non-Indigenous people who were living in what was then the Mitchell town centre. After the town centre was flooded, the place where Aboriginal people had been relocated was selected as the new location for the town, and in 1931 the Aboriginal people were moved again, out to the main Yumba. The site had an area that to this day is fenced off because it contains a mass grave for people who died of smallpox more than a century ago.
The old ‘Top Yumba’ is also known as Little Cherbourg, because many Aboriginal people whose families were removed to Cherbourg still come back to visit and camp here. A guide will be able to show visitors the Doctor Tree, used for curing long term illnesses that were not responding to treatment, and the banks of the river that provide white clay for soaps and face creams made by a local Aboriginal business. The river has also been mined for its very fine sand and to make mud bricks. Aboriginal people used to fish by throwing into the river a mixture made from the crushed leaves of a bush that grows nearby, which would stun the fish so that they could be scooped up easily.
Yumba Interpretive Trail, Mitchell
Blackberries picked at ‘The Supermarket’
There is a particularly rich source of bush foods and medicines in one area not far from the Top Yumba that has such a variety of plants and trees it is known as ‘The Supermarket’. Here your guide can show you bush bananas, wild blackberries (tiny and very sweet berries that grow on a bush) as well as gumby gumby trees and bumble trees, quinine trees and sandalwood.
A description of the plants to be found in the Mitchell area, which includes their Aboriginal names, can be found at http://www.bioregionalassessments.gov.au/sites/default/files/mbc_indigenous_report.pdf.
Clay river bank at the Top Yumba, Mitchell
Doctor Tree near the Top Yumba, Mitchell