Quandamooka story soars as new place marker revealed

A new place marker designed by Quandamooka artist Belinda Close has been unveiled at Cabarita Park, Amity Point (Pulan) on North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah).

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said Belinda’s artwork acknowledged the importance of Quandamooka culture and its story provided a unique insight for island visitors into a connection between people and place that extends more than 21,000 years.

“The Amity (Pulan) sculpture, which also acts as a weathervane, depicts the sea eagle Mirriginpah soaring high above the waters of Moreton Bay in search of food, alerting the Quandamooka People to the annual arrival of mullet – a story that is millennia-old,” Cr Williams said.

“The place marker tells a story many people may never have discovered without Belinda’s moving depiction – it provides a new opportunity to start conversations and promote Quandamooka Country on Redlands Coast.

“We know people want to experience Aboriginal culture, and on Redlands Coast we are fortunate to have an ever increasing range of Quandamooka cultural tourism experiences to offer.”

Redland City Division 2 Councillor Peter Mitchell welcomed the outstanding cultural artwork, saying its impact would extend well beyond Quandamooka Country.

“This stunning artwork and cultural story will add to the attraction of the island to visitors from far and wide, and be an experience people take home as a lasting memory to share with others all around the world,” he said.

Artist Belinda Close said she had been honoured to share a story still lived by Traditional Owners.

“My connection to Country is through my grannies, with their stories and legends passed down through many generations,” Ms Close said.

“This installation tells an ancient Quandamooka legend that everyone can share and understand, not just our people.

“The three dolphins in the sculture represent our three Clans – Noonuccal, Gorenpul and Nughie.

“We are a living culture and we still look forward each year to the mullet coming – this is a living story for people to learn.

“If people visiting the island know how passionate we are about our culture, the island and its animals, they will want to look after them and protect the island with us.”

The place marker is the first of three to be installed as part of the Queensland Government’s Minjerribah Futures initiative, with a second sculpture designed by Delvene Cockatoo-Collins to be completed at Point Lookout (Mulumba) in March 2020 and a third artwork to be located in Dunwich (Goompi) later in 2020.

Funded by the Queensland Government, the Amity Point and Point Lookout artwork projects are led by Redland City Council in collaboration with the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) and the artists.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) was in the midst of another successful summer holiday season, attracting visitors from across Australia and the world.

“Last financial year almost half a million visitors to Queensland took part in First Nations experiences and research shows this market is growing,” she said.

“More tourists than ever before want an authentic cultural experience when they travel and Minjerribah is perfectly placed to capitalise on this growing demand.

“Belinda’s beautiful new place marker is just one of the many ways that locals and visitors can engage with Quandamooka culture and better understand the deep and ongoing connection between Traditional Custodians and Country.

“With the Year of Indigenous Tourism in 2020, the government has a strong focus on promoting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences right across the state.

“Minjerribah has a bright future as a leading destination for cultural and eco-tourism.”

QYAC CEO Cameron Costello said the artwork reflected the history and story woven into the depths of Minjerribah.

“This new place marker will help visitors and residents better understand and experience the deep connections between the Quandamooka People and this place,” he said.

“This sculpture represents a visual welcome and sharing of knowledge, adding to visitors’ experiences and contributing to valuable cultural education.”

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