Kombumerri Traditional Custodian Contributor: Justine Dillon

This resource is related to the following Learning Area –

And responds to the following Enquiry Question –

Q21.How did the clans manage their traditional boundaries?

Resource transcript –

So, I’ve had long discussions with the archaeologists and anthropologists about this because I try and emphasise to them the mentality that our families carried on through the generation to now. Haven’t changed very much, our mentalities. We’re still very protective of our country, protective of our identity and our people. We have always, you know, we know have an abundance of assets on the Gold Coast. We’ve got fresh water to salt water to swamp. Like, we feel like we had it all in our little area and… yeah, we feel like it’s something that people want to be part of. And, so, we talked about our history, about that’s why we kind of assimilated in urbanised areas. We didn’t want to lose all those… all our beautiful country we had. But, I have argued with the archaeologists that… there’s stories I’ve read where our men would steal women from Quandamooka country or Mununjali country and bring them back and… they’d show interest but if they couldn’t get the proposal they wanted or the okay from the tribal members of that tribe they’d just steal them. Bring ‘em back. And, I’ve heard that they were on the run, pretty much until they got to our border country. So, once they crossed over that Coomera river onto Kombumerri country they didn’t have to run no more. They’re home. They’re protected. No one could hunt them on that country. And I’m like, I’ve read stories like that and it makes me think of the Native American stories were they would stop at certain boundaries too. They knew that wasn’t their land to go on and country… or there was signs, totems. I’ve heard ours are separated by the river systems, big trees along the waterways. Like the Jabreen story says that a tree and the river was our boundaries of our Kombumerri country. Which tree? We’ll never know, but, we assume there is a big mango tree [edit – possibly Macadamia or Blackbean Tree] on the edge Coomera river that might have been… possibly… but who knows? That could have been lost in floods or through developments. I think that… I explained to them our mentality. Now, I believe, that they would have strategically placed families in certain areas to let people know, a warning system of people coming into country and I believe it links back to that flora/fauna system. That I see my protector bird and it means something to me. If these are the trespassers coming through where it would have been just bush. They would have disturbed the birds or the animals living in that area could have caused something and oh we’ve seen the birds fly, someone’s coming, or a bird’s moved away from it’s nest or the animals are running from their nest or there could have been some sort of relationship… cause we know people use jingree on the coast as a greeting. In our Kombumerri culture we’ve been taught up… bought up, taught that that bird’s a warning bird. That keep your eyes peeled, keep your wits about ya, someone bad’s coming or a stranger’s coming. So, that has different interpretations all around our area but that’s what we’ve been told. That different birds have different meanings and to take that meaning and I see that and it’s like, okay, I’m on my game, I’ll keep my wits about me. Whoever I’m meeting up next, maybe I shouldn’t fully trust them, kind of thing. That’s what that bird will tell me before seeing it. But other people interpret the totems differently again. So, yeah, I don’t know. The boundaries, I think, they would have had warnings like that. The warning birds, the bigger birds might have been above to tell them. Who knows? It’d be interesting to find out, if we could but I believe it would have been something along those lines. That we had border protection because most of the families were grouped together but like today, we can’t all stay together. We all get too in each other’s faces. So some of the families have to separate a bit, move away. And that’s fine because we’re all still connected somehow. There was some relationship with them all as well.