Kombumerri Traditional Custodian Contributor: Uncle Graham Dillon OAM

This resource is related to the following Learning Area –

And responds to the following Enquiry Questions –

Q1.Indigenous family structures and roles and responsibilities.
Q8.Well-known Kombumerri people past and present.
Q14.What were the traditional laws, protocols and customs of the Kombumerri people?
Q17.What important roles did members of the Kombumerri people play within their community?
Q18.Compare/contrast: land use/sustainability in the past and present.
Q19.Rules in the community, decision making and managing conflict.

Resource transcript –

When it came time to make a reasonably important decision that could and did affect family values… see, it’s important to recognise the value system. It doesn’t matter where you go in the world. Value system is paramount. And when it came time for a problem that affected families… who’s going to solve it? The Elders. And that’s the imperative of the Australian Aboriginal system is the Eldership system. Most important if you’ve got no rhyme and reason to solve a problem… it’s a dysfunction. And, so, in their wisdom, these old people, they knew if there’s a problem it would go to the senior. The most senior person in our case, matriarchal society, woman business. Women run the government down there along the eastern seaboard there. In our country anyway. From down there, from the Tweed up to the Kummera-kummera, Coomera river, foot of the mountains, Wanggeriburra country. And, so, they would go to the most senior person because she would have all the wisdom. Who was that? Our grandmother and before that was Warru. But, that’s another story, talking about Warru, because that was the time of the timber traders up in the mountains. And, so, things went right off course there because with colonial connections the way of the Aboriginals just gradually faded away. There was only two people who maintained… very important question here. There were two people who maintained connection to country, right? Warru and Jenny, my grandmother, our grandmother. Yep. So, when it came to decision making everyone had a little bit of a say. But the final decision after there was a joint discussion around what was best, whether it be for a single person or a family or a couple who were having a problem… Grandmother, she would say, “Well, this is how it’s got to be.” There was no dissenting, no dysfunctional conversations. Her word was final. And that’s all there was to it. And we lived there, in our limited lifespan, we lived there… did not have a problem. Because the law, and remember it was customary law, most important. And quite humbly, customary law, I think if we can apply that in many instances of today’s society, I think would help us on the sustainability of how to live life and live it more profitably and better for the children growing up.