Gunggari People have a deep affinity and knowledge of our lands which encompass many significant sites, such as camp sites, burial sites, battle sites, waterholes and wells, artefact sites and other historically important places. Many served as meeting places of Aboriginal people and we used for initiation ceremonies and corroboree.
Our landmarks are located in many places, including Mitchell, Mungallala, Bonus Downs, Tongy, Tomoo, Abieglassie, Woodlands, Dunkeld, Teaswater, Amby, Womblebank, Forestvale, Morven, Albany Downs, Cashmere, Hillsborough, Lussvale, Cytheream, Thirsty Downs, Rockybank, Grassmere and Bindebango.
The Maranoa River
The heartland of Gunggari country centres on the Mitchell township, but our Elders say it is ‘the flow of water’ which defines our territorial boundaries.
The traditional Gunggari song Illmargan, recorded by Granny Emily Jackson in 1974, tells the Gunggari Dreaming story and celebrates the spirit and power of the water, particularly the Maranoa River and its association with the Mundagatta, the rainbow serpent.
The Maranoa River is central to our People’s culture, knowledge and traditions, as are the watersheds of the Upper Nebine, Mungallala and Wallam Creeks, which feature strongly in the life histories of our ancestors.
Historically, our families lived along the Maranoa River in camps known as Yumbas, which served as spiritual homes, as well as places to fish, gather water and socialise. Today, we maintain a deep connection with the Yumbas, and we recognise Mitchell as the residential and political heartland of our people.
The Medicine Tree
The Medicine Tree, located at the Top Yumba and used for healing, is a site of great significance to our people. We believe a ‘little woman’ or healing spirit resides in the tree, a belief supported by Langloh Parker’s recording of a ‘Minggah, or spirit-haunted tree of an individual, usually chosen from amongst a man’s multiplex totems…another source of danger to him, as also a help.’
We share a deep spiritual connection to our country and believe the spirits of our ancestors continue to inhabit Gunggari country. As such, it is important to the Gunggari People that death and burial take place on our lands.
Since 2010, we have owned and managed 14 hectares of freehold land through the Gunggari Aboriginal Property Association. The land is located at Dunkeld, which which was transferred to the Gunggari People under the Land Act and Aboriginal Land Act (Qld) via an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) and alternative settlement process.