Kombumerri Traditional Custodian Contributor: Uncle Graham Dillon OAM

This resource is related to the following Learning Areas –

And responds to the following Enquiry Questions –

Q2.Commemorating special places and talking about their significance in the past and present.
Q50.Did the Kombumerri people have special songs?
Q70.Traditional foods – meals, rituals, eating times?

Resource transcript –

Most certainly. The Marriot is the most northern part of Ferny Avenue, Ferny Avenue road. That’s the northern part. Come through Surfer’s Paradise as you’re travelling north. Ferny Avenue comes to a… a cut-off point there. The road still continues but we always knew it as Ferny Avenue. And now to the western side or to the left hand side of Marriot hotel, now you have high-rises. But when I was about 11 years or 12 years of age, I used to go with my cousins, Leo, Leo Graham from off Gardiner Island. We used to go… and my brother Cec, we used to go there crabbing. Cause there was a great big mangrove inlet there whereas now if you look on the old maps, you know, imperial maps, you’ll see where it was all mud and mangrove flats and everything there. Just west of Ferny Avenue, where the Marriot is now. It’s all changed, all been reclaimed and there’s high-rises there but in those days you used to go crabbing and fishing and as I said before my cousin, he used to hear, he’d hear the sounds of the old people there because sand is notorious for sound, carrying sound. Notorious. Yeah, I’ve noticed that, yep. I used to hear a little tiny bit of the songs there because by this time the old people had died out and for what it’s worth I don’t think that the didgeridoos were around there because the didge comes from more central Queensland and up the Northern Territory. Cause that’s where it came from. I used to hear one there, “Gilabu, gilabu nyahny bon.” That was the beginning of a song which says behave yourselves, gilabu gilabu, behave yourselves or the bogey man will come and get you. They didn’t say bogey man, you know but I knew… My old people, they knew the songs and for what’s it’s worth my aunties, Aunty Tilly, Aunty Mary, Aunty Edie, these are the old ladies, my mother, my mother’s sisters and Tilly she come from over the mountains, Beaudesert. Whenever I’d go… they’d be sitting in the kitchen, this is the rules and regulations and observing the customs. Pardon me. When I’d go into the kitchen, for example, one morning… several mornings they’d be sitting down talking and I’d naturally like to hear what they would talk about in language and soon as I go inside the kitchen they’d chase me. I don’t know why but I think, I sense that they did not want me to talk… to hear them talking in language because we’d been well and truly settled. We were settled by after the 1850s, the Gold Coast, when the timber trade started up in the mountains, Beechmont, Tamborine, Wanggeriburra country and I think they were wanting to change with the times. The English language is come in. We’ll be well and truly colonised and so they wanted to go with the flow or change with the times. So, they didn’t like us talking language or hearing the language.