Traditional Custodians of the land

The indigenous people of Australia have a rich culture stretching back at least 50,000 years making it the oldest living culture on Earth.

Every part of Australia is Aboriginal country and every part of that country has a series of stories and experiences that are unique to that place. What connects all indigenous people is a strong connection to its natural environment, landscapes and past and future generations.

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land, in particular the Kabi Kabi Peoples and the Jinibara Peoples of the coastal plains and hinterlands of the Sunshine coast on which we live and work. We pay our respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders past, present and emerging.
MyCaloundra is committed to honouring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, water and seas and their rich contribution to society.

The Kabi Kabi people of the Sunshine Coast took their name from the pale honey gathered from the eucalypts of the hinterland. The group was made up of a number of smaller tribes inhabiting the region from Elimbah Creek in the south, to Cooloola National Park in the north.

The Jinibara People are the mountain people. Their name means “people of the lawyer vine” (bara meaning “people” and Jini meaning “lawyer vine”). They are therefore the traditional people who live in the mountains and valleys where lawyer vine grows.

Contrary to popular perceptions, life for the Kabi Kabi and Jinibara Peoples in traditional times did not involve a nomadic relentless search for food. Rather, traditional country was bountiful, and individuals had their own specialised personal responsibilities for providing for the group. They built a number of permanent huts from wattle and tea trees, positioning them about 5 to 6 kilometres apart. The tribes moved from one hut to the next to allow the regeneration of local foodstuffs to occur, or if a death occurred in the tribe.

 

The coastal strip and estuaries provided plentiful food sources including kangaroos, possums, echidnas, lizards, snakes and birds. The ocean provided a bounty of dugong, fish and shellfish. The women of the tribe would gather fern roots, eggs and honey, as well as gathering various leaves and grasses with which to fashion baskets.

The first European settlers noticed that the Aborigines in the area tended to display stronger features and physique than those further south, where food was scarcer.

Tribes usually respected one another’s territory but occasionally fights broke out and it was not unusual for the victors to dine on the flesh of their enemies.

In late summer, the tribes would gather on the western side of the ridge near Obi Obi Creek to participate in the Bunya Feast. A celebration of feasting, dance and song would ensue with tribes coming together to talk through their problems and arrange marriages between tribes, to prevent inbreeding.

The Bunya Trees were marked by members of the tribes, with ownership being passed down by the father to the eldest son. The bunya nuts, tasting similar to sweet potato, were usually eaten raw or roasted.

Feasting and celebrations would last about a month, with tribes trading for items that were not available in their district. Coastal Aborigines would swap rugs made from possum fur, shields, shells and dilly bags for prized spear heads, sharpened stones for tools, and colourful ochre.

The Glass House Mountains were seen by the Aborigines as a mysterious place of spiritual significance. A Bora Ring just one kilometre south of the mountains served as a place of initiation for young men. The mountains of Tibrogargan, Coonowrin and Beerwah also have much cultural significance.

Many of the names that we use today to describes areas of the Sunshine Coast have roots in Aboriginal culture.

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