HomeArticlesArts & CultureHow to connect with Indigenous culture

How to connect with Indigenous culture

Samantha Morris

Here are ways to draw your attention to ways to connect with Indigenous culture year-round.

Guanaba Indigenous Protected Area

At the base of Tamborine Mountain, near the NSW-Queensland border, lies a 100 hectare Indigenous Protected Area.

Guanaba Indigenous Protected Area – the only Indigenous Protected Area in the whole of SEQ and one of only five in Queensland is home to dense rainforest, vine thickets, eucalpyt woodlands and picturesque creeks, bordering the National Park.

The land was purchased in 1998 by the Ngarang-Wal Land Corporation who now manage it.

Clinton Brewer, a local Kombumerri man told us a little bit about the IPA and also how Nerang got its name.

“Wal means watery area and Ngarang means shovel-nosed sharks,” Clinton says adding that Nerang River was home to a large number of the sharks.

“Any Indigenous group can get federal funding to buy crown land, but it can’t be sold, just improved” he says.

“We bought Guanaba Indigenous Protected Area in 1998 and we do water quality testing, weed management, monitoring of feral pests and animal surveys.

“It provides employment for local Indigenous people,” he says.


Jellurgal Cultural Centre is one of the jewels in Burleigh Headland’s crown. Sitting at the base of Burleigh Hill, right near Tallebudgera Creek, it’s a special place to learn more about the Gold Coast’s first people and the knowledge and stories associated with Traditional Culture here.

There are guided walking tours of Burleigh Headland (known as Jellurgal in Yugumbeh language) and an interpretive centre which helps preserve and extend local Aboriginal culture.

The walk around Burleigh Hill highlights traditional sites used by the Yugambeh people, including an ancient midden and carving stone. Aspects of traditional life, including the sharing of one of the Gold Coast’s oldest Dreamtime Stories, The creation of Jellurgal, is also a highlight.

Read the full story on Jellurgal.

Nyubani Rugby Union

The Gold Coast is home to Australia’s very first Indigenous-based rugby union club for boys and girls.

Formed this year, Nyubani has very specific goals in mind. It’s about giving kids (and their parents) positive direction through sport – as well as building in cultural education by way of learning and demonstrating Indigenous games, language, art and culture. Both Indigenous and non Indigenous are welcome.

“It was started by me and Scott Williams,” Clinton Brewer says (yes, he’s a busy man).

“Scott is part of a group called Sport Think Tank.

“He knows my granddad and got in touch last year and saw a need for Indigenous people, getting them into sport.”

“Rugby league is mob’s first choice, but rugby union is what we want to target. It’s always been viewed as a private school / rich kids’ sport.”

“We teach Indigenous culture and do training every Sunday morning at Southport.”

Nyubani Rugby Union Club has started modestly, with a program for six and seven year old boys and girls. They meet every Sunday morning at 9.00am at Tuesley Park (near the caravan park) and all are welcome.

Indigenous artists

Gold Coast has a growing number of Indigenous artists using textiles, installation art, sculpture and visual art to explore and connect with culture.

Libby Harward, who completed a residency at The Walls gallery last year, and participated in the City’s Indigenous Artists’ Camp is one. She experiments through various media as well as concepts. Over the past year she’s been experimenting with language. Her Walls’ exhibition included words made from mangrove mud, “which is like the blood of my family,” she explained. And some of her recent work – as part of the Shifting Sands, South Stradbroke Island Indigenous Artist Camp, involved Yugambeh words in the tidal zone.

“I’ve moved away from the whole English language,” she says, about her art.

“But even when we use (our) Language – when it’s written, it’s still English letters.”

Libby and some of her peers will be exhibiting the works created at the Indigenous Artists Camp which opens Saturday 30 July. The Artist Camp is part of the City of Gold Coast’s Culture Strategy 2023 commitment to the elevation and promotion of local Indigenous artist development, and is supported by the Gold Coast City Gallery.

Read more about some of the City’s talented Indigenous artists.

Songstress, Emily Wurramara

Originally from Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory, Emily now calls the northern Gold Coast home. Just 20, she’s already performed in Sweden and France and collaborated with the likes of Bernard Fanning. She’s one of the artists performing at the launch of NAIDOC Week celebrations in Brisbane.

Emily’s debut EP Black Smoke, which is out this month, features six songs which demonstrate her passion for culture and heritage while showcasing her talent for songwriting. She delivers the songs in both English and Anindilyakwa, the traditional language of her home on Groote Eylandt.

Listen to Emily’s music.

Related articles

'; } #> {{{ date_info }}} {{{ data.Suburb }}} {{{ data._highlightResult.taxonomies.post_tag[index].value }}}

0 && typeof(data._snippetResult)!='undefined') { relevant_content = data._snippetResult[ attribute_name ].value; } } //the_content=data.content; relevant_content = (typeof(data._snippetResult)!='undefined' && typeof(data._snippetResult[ attributes[ 0 ] ])!='undefined' ? data._snippetResult[ attributes[ 0 ] ].value : ''); #> {{{ relevant_content }}}