Kombumerri Traditional Custodian Contributor: Justine Dillon

This resource is related to the following Learning Areas –

And responds to the following Enquiry Questions –

Q30.Are the local significant cultural sites still used by the Kombumerri people?
Q39.Were there any parts of the Kombumerri country where people resided in caves?

Resource transcript –

Not that we know of. In this local area, there’s probably too many myths and legends attached to such sites that we’re told not to enter them or go near them. Particularly in our hinterland, the cave systems you find along Lamington and all those places, and Springbrook, is a medicine man mountain. We get told those are very significant sites. Don’t go climbing the mountains at night, it’s forbidden and that our Elders were buried standing up in some of the cave systems to forever look over our people and watch over them, which is beautiful. And, if you’re standing down a surface and you look at the landscape you can see the mountains. Springbrook’s the highest, so if… as an Elder being, you want to look over your people, you’re going to find the highest peak to keep an eye on them. And, then, the cave systems along there, where the Elders are buried, kind of looks like they would have had them situated to have them watch over us, kind of thing, in that area. Quite a beautiful story, I think, that they’re always forever watching us and like I mentioned before working in Numinbah Valley, that man standing up on the ridge the whole time, a bit freaky but it’s like someone is watching over us still, the entire time. And, yeah, Springbrook mountain is another place important to us. Medicine man mountain. I learnt the hard way going up for a school trip. They’ve had the camp there, had indigenous students, they asked me to come up and do a talk. I went up at dusk and made the mistake of not informing my dad and my mum and my brother at the time and some weird things happened. I’ve seen some stuff that I can’t really explain and I was very on edge and uncomfortable and when we were trying to leave the mountain some other stuff happened and I felt uncomfortable. Prayed, just said some words to my ancestors, my great aunty had just passed at the time and she was assistant to my grandmother who had also passed and I just reached out to both of them. Put my head down like, “Nan, Aunty, can you get us home safe?” Cos I had my daughter with me and we got home safe and I rang my mum and dad like, “Ah, the weirdest night, all this stuff happened and I’ve seen this thing.” My dad just straight away, “I’m very disappointed,” hung up the phone. My brother rang me screaming, “You’re not meant to go up the mountain. You need senior male man permission. That’s why you’re uncomfortable, that’s why things happened, that’s why you’re seeing things because you shouldn’t have been up there at night time, for starters.” And I’m like, “But I didn’t know any of this.” No one had told me that side of the mountain before because I had never shown interest to go, so, yeah. It was something… and I was in my twenties and I learnt that and had to teach my daughter, you know, and some of my other family that we have to wait and ask permission. Don’t go up the mountains at night time unless it’s for something, you know, significant. Yeah, even then, when I go up to visit friends at night time, on weekends, my brother will drive me up and pick me up and take me home so he knows that I’m safe. Yeah, there’s… the mountain ranges and other areas and cave systems, places you don’t mess with. Not a thing to go… like, bushwalking during the daytime, I’d say it’d be fine but wouldn’t messing around those places as night time, at all. Especially caves, cos… and wherever water systems are. That’s a link to our bunyip stories. Caves are linked to our Goomp Goomp stories like of all our mythical creatures that they told us growing up to scare us kids to behave and have respect of our cultural heritage. So, yeah.