Conrad Bauwens

Conrad is a Jairowair man of the Wakka Wakka nation and current caretaker of the "Gummingurru" cultural heritage site north of Toowoomba, between the towns of Highfields and Meringandan on the Darling Downs, in inland southern Queensland. Gummingurru was a men's initiation ground, almost 5ha in size and is made up of more than a dozen designs made from the arrangement of local rocks which are formed from the basalt that covers parts of the site, including emu, bunya nut, rainbow serpent, and fish. It is one of the largest stone arrangement sites in Queensland, and is the most easterly stone Bora site recorded in Queensland. In the past Aboriginal people from southeast Queensland and northeast New South Wales stopped at Gummingurru on their journey to the Bunya Mountains for the Bunya Nut Festival. For some Aboriginal people it was a long way to walk.

Gummingurru is one of a series of ceremonial places where young men were initiated into manhood before continuing on to participate in 'men's business', held as part of the Bunya nut festivities. In the late 19th century the site was still being used for ceremonies and male initiation. Conrad enjoys being caretaker for the site and enjoys sharing the history of the site with visitors.

"I hope to give all kids an appreciation and understanding of culture and be proud to have such a significant cultural site still alive."

Conrad also helps keep culture alive in his role as Cultural Heritage Officer at QGC. He has been working for QGC since 2008, but has worked in similar positions since he was 17.

"This work is a part of who I am. I got involved in Caring for Country through my family. Protecting and preserving remnants and saving cultural sites on my country is so important."