The Gold Coast’s Dreaming Mountain

JAKE GALLAGHER

Jingeri Wallal Wahlu – Welcome! The ‘Dreaming Mountain’ Jellurgal at Burleigh Heads is a must visit if you want to learn more about the culture and traditions of the custodial owners of this land, the Yugambeh people.

The Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, UK - 28 March 2018

The view from Burleigh Heads National Park – the ‘dreaming mountain’. Photo: Micah Crook

The Gold Coast has a rich history of indigenous culture with culturally significant sites and sacred land to be found up and down the entire coast, with Jellurgal a prime example in the Burleigh Head National Park.

One of the oldest living cultures in the world, the Yugambeh Aboriginal people are the custodial owners of the Gold Coast and have lived here for thousands of years.

Long before European settlers arrived on the coast, Jellurgal was the stage for corroborees and ceremonies and the Yugambeh people lived in harmony with the land.

The Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre is on the Gold Coast Highway just north of Tallebudgera Creek bridge.

Cultural officer Anthony Cora traces his genealogy back to the traditional owners at the time of European settlement. He is one of four tour guides who give insight into the spirituality and society of the Yugambeh people and Jellurgal.

The Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, UK - 28 March 2018

Guide Anthony Cora gives a tour at Jellurgal Culture Centre. Photo: Micah Crook

“This beach used to be a meeting place with big gatherings and festivals, with people travelling from as far as Lismore all the way up to Logan and Beaudesert to all come to this place to celebrate births, marriages and deaths,” he said.

There are many dreamtime stories to be heard and countless culturally significant sites to be learned about during the guided tours of the mountain.

One of these sites is an ochre pit, where Indigenous Australians would source their body paint for traditional ceremonies and rituals. Three ochre marks are placed on the back of visitors’ hands as a blessing before they start their Jellurgal tours.

“The ochre comes straight from the mountain… it’s like the veins in our body, which starts down on the beach just along the cove and runs up all through the mountain in different directions,” Mr Cora said.

jellurgal-10.jpg

Guide Anthony Cora crumbles ochre into powder at Jellurgal Cultural Centre. Photo: Micah Crook

Cultural promotions officer for the centre is proud Yugambeh woman Trish Kane, who invites anyone with an interest in indigenous culture to take the tour.

“We cater to all sorts of different age groups, walking ability, pace, and everything because we believe if people have an interest and want to come and do a tour we’ll do what we can for that person (or group),” she said.

Prices start from $20 for adults and $10 for children and for bookings or further tour information visit www.jellurgal.com.au or phone 07 5525 5955.

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