Kombumerri Traditional Custodian Contributor: Justine Dillon

This resource is related to the following Learning Area –

And responds to the following Enquiry Question –

Q30.Are the local significant cultural sites still used by the Kombumerri people?

Resource transcript –

I believe the bora rings used for some events from one of our family groups, cos we all have different organisations… my organisation’s non-profit more about environmental conservation, Cultural Heritage… other groups are doing language and everything and they’re used the bora ring for events and some of the other family members are a bit ‘ehhh,’ like, I know how strict the cultural law is there so I wouldn’t be messing with that kind of area if I was them but each to their own. That’s their business to mess with, I guess. But, that’s the only really site I know that there’s been anything cultural related on a public site. Kombumerri Park, I held about 2 years ago, a 50-year anniversary commemoration for the bones under the ground. It was 50 years since we reburied them and the Historical Society and the archaeologists and Doctor Laila Haglund who did the initial report and book on Kombumerri Park all encouraged me to do something. And, I’m like, all I can think of to do is what we do at other death ceremonies when we bury someone. We get a piece of their sand from their place, so we went and got some sand from down at Broadbeach or something and bought it and put it in a beautiful bowl and I said to everyone we’ll do dances and a welcome and then I want to ask you all to walk up the field, walk around the mount and say something to my ancestors or just sprinkle the sand and, you know, show your respect and you can walk off and that’s just a way… a sand ceremony for us to say, we know you’re there, we acknowledge you’re there and we respect what you went through. Even though we don’t know the full story we believe that might be one of the massacre sites or burial sites. They never got to complete their studies in that… on that whole area. So, I don’t know, there’s thing like that we’re trying to do but… I’ve travelled to Europe and I see churches, basilicas all these places where people have died and you can’t step on them, they’re fenced off, there’s big shrines and, you know, everything about it and ours is in a football park next to the footy field behind the high school with no protection around it. Yeah, there’s a concrete slab under the ground and one sign but that’s my Cultural Heritage under the ground and it’s not protected by anyone. I said that could be the perfect job for us to manage that site and stop people treading on it, walking all over our people that died there. And I’ve also said to the people when I’m there, all these wealthy houses around us… what’s the bet they didn’t dig up all those areas properly? I can guarantee some of them have activity probably happening in their home they can’t explain because the right thing wasn’t done in this area. If this was an entire burial area, you can guarantee all those houses are over the top of it too. They’re all waterfront, beautiful houses on canals. You know, like… good luck to them. And the other site, like I said before about Burleigh mountain, I want to start getting back into going up there and doing women’s activities. We’ve been doing a few things down the bottom of the mountain, going swimming and having meetings but I want to talk to Queensland Parks about co-management of one of those sites again, so that we can get back to looking after it the way we know and we wouldn’t be shutting people out, it’d be opening it up in a new way that you educate them to have a zero footprint on our country while you’re visiting the country. Not dropping your rubbish, or take a bag with you and pick up rubbish along the way. I don’t know… the other sites… there’s a few other sites that we haven’t really shared with the public and there’s a few other sites that have been destroyed by the public. I knew there was a bora ring in Bundall, I believe, near the golf club and I don’t really know what’s happened to that. I’ve just seen it on one of our maps but it’s right where a golf course is, so, I’d say it’s long gone. Some other sites… I’ve been asking my cousins if we can map those sites before we lose that heritage, like, of those ones that are lost. Because we do know bits and pieces. There’s Brighton Parade, was the one at where Gardiner Island was, they used to finish the Drumley walk down there. Cos there was a relative who walked from Beaudesert Mununjali Yugambeh country all the way down over the mountains and come visit my great-great-grandmother, our apical ancestor and he used to say to the kids there that, I’m not from this country, kids. My country’s over the mountains, kind of thing. But, then there’s rumours that he might have been siblings to one of our apicals, so, I’m not really sure. We’re trying to locate all that info and hopefully will.