How the Kombumerri Communicated

So beside oral languages the Kombumerri people communicated via song. So different mobs have, what we call song lines. Now these song lines were a way of the Kombumerri people so the older men and women would sing a song when they would go walking through the bush, walking through different tracks as a way of pointing out significant areas that they could tell their children. So music is a great way of passing on to our children the language and also passing onto our children different things that were important to our people.

Another way that they communicated, other than music and oral language, was by hand signals. So for example, if you were to translate the Yugambeh language into English, you don’t always get every single word. So for example, you wouldn’t get “Come over here right now. I need to tell you something”. That wouldn’t translate in the Yugambeh language. What they used to do was they used to use a lot of hand signals. So for example, come over here would be …come over here right now … and that’s how they would do that. They would use hand signals.

Another way that they would communicate was via smoke signals. So for example, the smoke signals would be … they would light a fire and the smoke signal would be telling another mob so for example, the Kombumerri would light a fire if they wanted to go and cross over a border to another mob’s country. And that would be a way of telling them “Hey we’re coming. Keep a lookout for us”. And then they would meet on the border and then they would maybe pass some sort of trade to be able to go on to their country.

There is one song called yelawala yambala. And it goes from the song originated from Evan’s Head and it’s about a man traveling from the border there, up to Yugambeh Country so Yugambeh language region which is the southeast Queensland region traveling up to this country um in order to get himself a wife. So they would they would sing the song in order to tell them, where exactly how to get there.

Another way that the Kombumerri used to communicate was via using ochre. So they would paint themselves with different symbols on their body. Now these symbols would tell other people, so other people in the mob or other people from other mobs coming in. It would tell them that they were either a person of significance or that they were either a boy going through a man’s ritual. So that would that was a way of communicating “This is what I’m wearing. This is what I look like. This is the symbols all over my body. I’m a boy about to become a man in this ritual”.

Another way that they would communicate was using ochre to do rock art. So we see rock art in other mobs in southeast Queensland unfortunately, nothing has been saved on the Gold Coast for our Kombumerri people but we know that they used ochre because of the fact that we have an ochre pit on our area of significance which is Jellurgal, Burleigh Mountain. And we still use the ochre today to perform ceremonies as a way of telling people “This is what we’re doing. This is who we are”.