The Kookaburra

Issue 12 - May 2018 Posted: Thursday 17 May 2018

Commonwealth Games highlights

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) has created a legacy beyond 11 days of world-class sport and festivities.

As the first Commonwealth Games in history and major sporting event in Australia with a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), we’d like to acknowledge some of the Commonwealth Games highlights that have celebrated the cultures, traditions and legacy of our First Nations people.

For the first time, an invitation to attend the Games was extended to Commonwealth nations by Yugambeh Elders at Buckingham Palace. Elders Aunty Patricia O’Connor and Uncle Ted Williams also launched the Queen’s Baton Relay. These duties had previously been performed by the Queen. A First Nations Welcoming Ceremony was also delivered by people from the Yugambeh speaking region to First Nations representatives from Commonwealth nations.

Another stand out moment was the spectacular didgeridoo orchestra performance in the opening ceremony that showcased the offerings of Aboriginal-owned and Mackay-based business, Santo Didgeridoo, to a global audience of millions.

DATSIP proudly supported students from Herberton’s Mount St Bernard College to perform in the didgeridoo orchestra at the opening ceremony. In addition, students from Murgon State High School and Yarrabah State School (Junior Secondary) had the opportunity to attend the Games with tickets provided by DATSIP.

The Games were also an opportunity for small but culturally-strong communities including Lockhart River and Woorabinda to proudly share their customs with global audiences as part of #Festival2018 activities. View the Woorabinda dance on Facebook.

Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Jackie Trad opened the inaugural Meeanjin markets, which was held at Brisbane’s Reddacliff Place on Friday 6 and Saturday 7 April. The markets had more than 30 Indigenous businesses, music, food and performances and was a great opportunity to support First Nations businesses and authentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander products.

On top of the Meeanjin markets, it was a win for economic participation for Indigenous businesses across Queensland during the Games who secured nearly $8 million in contracts and more than 200 jobs created for Indigenous peoples – boosting employment, training, procurement and business capability.

For the first time, the Women of the World (WOW) Festival also brought together the stories, achievements and challenges of women and girls of the Commonwealth Nations, including a focus on the voices of women and girls living in regional and remote communities.

There are hundreds more positive stories and collaborative innovation projects like these which inspire Queenslanders to continue the Games’ legacy of inclusive communities and greater reconciliation for all Australians now and into the future.

Linda Biumaiwai – The Spirit of the Commonwealth Games

Linda Biumaiwai is a proud Mununjali woman from the Beaudesert area of the Yugambeh language region and is the Regional Manager of DATSIP South East Queensland South.

The Yugambeh language region extends from the Logan River to the north to the Tweed region in the south, and includes the Gold Coast hinterland, Beaudesert and Tambourine areas.

Linda has been instrumental in providing advice to both the Office of the Commonwealth Games and GOLDOC (Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation) as a member of GOLDOC’s Indigenous Working Group, along with other Yugambeh leaders.

She has been a valuable advisor to Grocon in the construction of the Athletes Village at Parklands. That advice has contributed to in excess of 130 employment outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and resulted in the purchase of services to a value of more than $3 million from Indigenous businesses during construction of the village.

During the Commonwealth Games, Linda delivered the Welcome to Country at the opening of the swimming events on Thursday 5 April, and was Elder in Residence at the Commonwealth Games Village over the Easter weekend.

Linda delivered an inspirational Welcome to Country to commence the announcement of the Australian Team Flag bearer.

Palm Island Centenary

World records were broken, culture was showcased and memories were made at the Palm Island Centenary “Present” Event – Deadly Didge n Dance Festival in April.

It has been 100 years since the first forced placement of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people on the island in 1918.

The Deadly Didge n Dance Festival brought together 250 Aboriginal dancers from Palm Island who all set a new world record for the largest corroboree ever performed.

You can check out their dance on Facebook.

Queensland Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Jackie Trad attended the commemorative event and stood arm in arm with local leaders, Elders and community members to reflect on the injustices of the past and look forward to the future, including taking part in the symbolic 'burning of the super intendant bell, a bell that would ring for the residents of Palm Island for morning roll calls and curfews in the early settlement days of the Island.

The Queensland Government provided more than $235,000 towards the Palm Island Centenary celebrations.

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 2018 program unveiled

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) 2018 will extend its international reach with an expanded program of more than 20 different events and activities celebrating Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders diverse arts and culture.

This year’s program of events, unveiled at Tanks Arts Centre in Cairns on 3 May, will be underpinned by the theme ‘Connection to country’ and is expected to attract more than 50,000 people over four days from 12 to 15 July.

CIAF will be staged at the heritage-listed Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal with satellite events at venues across the city including Cairns Art Gallery, Centre of Contemporary Arts Cairns and Tank Arts Centre.

Highlights include the Art Market, fashion performance Bulmba-barra – when bare feet touch the earth, Bayal Kaymanen dance performance, Bukal theatre production, Pitcha’s After Dark outdoor film festival and three satellite exhibitions - Continental Drift Blak to Black and North by East West at Cairns Art Gallery and Pride in Authority at Tank Arts Centre.

CIAF is one of the state’s most significant cultural tourism events showcasing our Indigenous artists and providing an ethical marketplace to take their art to a global audience. Since its inception in 2009, CIAF has generated millions in direct sales for Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

The Queensland Government is supporting the CIAF Art Awards’ Premier’s Award for Excellence for a second year, which recognises Queensland’s Indigenous artists and provides important professional development pathways.

The 2018 CIAF Art Award categories have also been expanded to include Photography along with Innovation, Emerging, Art Centre, People’s Choice, and the Premier’s Award for Excellence and a total prize value of $50,000.

The Queensland Government proudly supports CIAF through Arts Queensland’s Backing Indigenous Arts Initiative.

More information is available on the CIAF event and activities website.

Appointment to the District Court

Congratulations to Ghangulu and Bidjara man and barrister Nathan Jarro on his appointment as a District Court Judge last month.

Nathan’s extensive experience as a barrister and a member of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Mental Health Review Tribunal along with his strong connection to community will bring a unique and necessary perspective to the District Court.

Best wishes to his Honour Judge Nathan Jarro with his new and challenging role as District Court Judge in Brisbane.

Sandra Delaney revitalising language with her new children’s book

Sandra Delaney is a Nunagal, Goenpul, and Ngugi woman from the Quandamooka coast. Through pottery, jewellery, painting, textiles, language and writing, she tells stories as an Aboriginal woman and shares her culture.

Sandra, who is a DATSIP Community and Personal Histories Unit Program Manager, has just published her new children's book 'Yalingbila Bibunla – Whale Dreaming'.

"I was inspired to write a story in our language based on this beautiful creature’s sea country songline as I believed that Yalingbila was an ancient ancestor coming up on sea country past our people to journey to Keppel Island. I wanted to pay respect to Yalingbila as it was the Woppaburra people’s ancestor,” Sandra said.

“Yalingbila Bibunla – Whale Dreaming is dedicated to the children, especially my grandchildren. They are the future. It’s about creating a deadly tomorrow - gujunjeba gawunga yagabilinya for them so our language will live on.

“My children’s book is a valuable resource for children and those interested in learning our language and culture,” she said.

Sandra is always working on new ways to showcase her art and is currently focusing on a revitalisation of her community’s language through various art forms.

"Language connects me to my old people, my community, and my country. I feel that this work must continue to honour those elders who were forbidden to speak their language.

“Language is a powerful tool to assert one’s connection to place. Language use and revitalisation is a statement of identity and an expression of cultural sovereignty,” she said.

Sandra’s artwork and new children’s book Yalingbila Bibunla – Whale Dreaming can be found on the Saltwater Murri’s Quandamooka Indigenous Art Gallery Facebook page.

Historic home ownership a first for the Torres Strait Islands

Five families can now call their beautiful island Poruma ‘home’after celebrating a historic local home ownership outcome in the Torres Strait Islands earlier this month.

To mark the occasion, the Torres Strait Island Regional Council held a Home Ownership Celebration and Blessing to celebrate the historic milestone.

Torres Strait Island Regional Council Mayor Fred Gela said Poruma’s achievement was a moment that will be treasured and remembered by Council.

“I’m ecstatic and proud of this achievement and will support many more homeownership outcomes to come,” Cr Gela said.

After resolving long standing land tenure issues under the Land Holding Act 1985, Poruma is paving the way for aspiring home owners in the Torres Strait which is a momentous achievement that deserves true celebration.

The Queensland Government has now supported 82 families in remote communities to secure home ownership in 10 discrete Indigenous communities.

DATSIP staff continue working closely with the Department of Housing and Public Works and Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy in conjunction with the Trustees (Council and Prescribed Bodies Corporate) to assist families like those in Poruma who would like to enter into home ownership.

Coen Women's Support Centre officially open

Over 100 residents attended the official opening of the Coen Women’s Support Centre in March.

The event was a proud day for Coen’s residents with the opening hosted by Coen Regional Aboriginal Corporation (CRAC) Committee member Mrs Jennifer Creek. Mrs Creek welcomed Commissioner Katarina Carroll, Government Champion for Coen and official guests and followed with a smoking ceremony and unveiling of the building signage.

The building was named ‘The Ann Creek and Dors Harold Building’ in honour of two local ladies who provided safe shelter for women and children for many years. The cultural name of the centre is ‘Kincha Ukulngumu’ meaning ‘sacred place for women’.

CRAC CEO Tim Jafffer said it had been a transformative project for Coen.

“The women identified the need for a safe place for women at risk of domestic violence, consulted locally about the design of the centre, and worked collaboratively with government to make this new service a reality in Coen,” he said.

The centre is now available to support women and children escaping domestic and family violence, and also provide a venue for social well-being activities.

Commissioner Carroll congratulated CRAC and members of the Coen Women’s Alliance on their achievements and also acknowledged the Queensland Government departments, including DATSIP and Cook Shire Council representatives who were the enablers for this project.

“As the government champion for Coen, I could not have been prouder to open the Coen Women’s Support Centre. A truly humbling experience meeting and learning from these amazing women. Violence against women- let’s stop it!” Commissioner Carroll said.

Dandirri Schools and Community Library Inala

Dandirri Schools and Community Library at Inala in Brisbane is home to more than 12,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educational, cultural and historical resources. There is a comprehensive collection of books, DVDs, puzzles, puppets, toys, kits, reference materials and artefacts.

The library, which has qualified and experienced staff, is open between 9.30am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. The Dandiiri team can assist with:

embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives across the curriculum in authentic and meaningful ways

    • providing resources for topics such as National Reconciliation Week, the Stolen Generation, Native Title and NAIDOC Week
    • selecting appropriate resources to support the teaching of literacy and numeracy
    • cooperative planning with teachers to help create relevant units of work across the key learning areas
    • providing support for Australian Curriculum and C2C in relation to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures as a cross-curriculum priority.


The library also conducts story time sessions, aimed at two to five year olds, every Wednesday at 10am. Bookings are recommended as there are limited spaces available.

Please phone (07) 3714 8500 or email:

Membership is free, allowing up to 25 items to be borrowed for four weeks, register on the website.

The Kookaburra is proudly published by the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships. Contribute stories and subscribe to the Kookaburra e-bulletin.

Return to results


Please let us know if you'd like to subscribe to The Kookaburra e-bulletin.


If you'd like to include an article for consideration in the The Kookaburra e-bulletin, please email

Disclaimer: Information contained on the The Kookaburra e-bulletin is published using information provided to the department by contributing government organisations. Whilst every attempt has been made to ensure its accuracy, the department does not accept responsibility for any errors, omissions, inaccuracies, or delays in publishing the information provided. The department reserves the right not to publish articles submitted via inclusion in The Kookaburra e-bulletin.