WOPPABURRA ELDERS: Auntie Glenice and Auntie Bess on Kanomie. Taken in 2017.
WOPPABURRA ELDERS: Auntie Glenice and Auntie Bess on Kanomie. Taken in 2017. Contributed

GKI traditional owners' healing ceremony after demolition

Following the demolition of GKI's resort, Elders and traditional owners of Great Keppel Island have planned an important healing ceremony on the island next weekend.

The ancestral burial grounds of the Woppaburra people along Fisherman's Beach in the grounds of the GKI resort hold great significance and it will be an important consideration when devising a cultural management plan in advance of a new resort development

Senior Woppaburra Elder Auntie Sue Hansen said a very important cultural custom and lore of their country obligation and responsibility was triggered by recent demolition disturbance of the old resort by Tower Holdings.

Darlutta and Auntie Sue on the way to GKI for the official ceremony of the Leeke's Creek Fish Habitat (Balban Dara Guya) 2017
Darlutta and Auntie Sue on the way to GKI for the official ceremony of the Leeke's Creek Fish Habitat (Balban Dara Guya) 2017 Contributed

"This is very important to us, culturally and spiritually, as the demolition area is a concrete slab, where our ancestors are buried,” Auntie Sue said.

READ: Woppaburra return to Great Keppel Island in historic milestone

Warinkil Auntie Glenice Croft said the burial grounds of their Woppaburra ancestors have been desecrated and now cultural protocol dictates a ceremony is needed for healing the spirits of their ancestors with love and respect.

Accordingly, the elders have organised a Heal Ceremony event, open to the public, taking place next Saturday on GKI.

Ms Hansen said this will be a day of harmony and peace, where the Elders will conduct the healing, smoking and ochre ceremony outside a section of the fence line of the Tower Holdings demolition site.

READ: Great Keppel Island - the past and the future

"There will be no trespass. This is not a reunion, it is our custom and lore, to heal our country with the recent demolition disturbance of the old resort,” Ms Hansen said.

"Our ancestors are buried there, this disturbance is all around them.

"We Elders need to do the healing of country, to restore the spiritual balance with smoking and cleansing of the site.”

With a number of Woppaburra Elders and descendants having relocated to Brisbane and Hervey Bay, they are fundraising the money to travel to GKI to participate in the ceremony.

Their goal was to raise $2000 and so far $500 has been raised through donations and selling raffle tickets. If you would like to assist, please see the details below.

Healing Ceremony Brochure Contributed

When: Saturday, September 29 2018

Time: 10am -12pm

Where: Lot 29 The Esplanade Great Keppel Island

What to bring: Visitors are advised to bring a rug to sit on along with your own lunch and drinks.

Special request: The Elders have asked everyone to bring a flower to lay at the demolition fence line to show respect, recognition of our ancestors burial site within the demolition site.

Transport: To and from GKI via Keppel Konnections Ph 0484 241 505 or Freedom Fast Cats Ph (07) 4933 68

Further information: Please contact coordinator for the Elders, Chrissy (Darlutta) on 0432 659 352.

The following items are to be raffled and the draw will be held on GKI on the 29th September:

  • Set 6 essential oil diffuser necklaces by Sugar Accessories
  • $100 Gift Voucher from Yester-Years antiques and collectables Rockhampton
  • Mr Legbas Custom made hat Valued at $280
  • Two books and a magazine subscription form SisterShip Magazine
  • Original oil painting by Woppaburra Artist Dagulling
  • Overnight accomodation for 2 adults and two children at the GKI Hideaway valued at $230.00

Tickets are available online at https://www.facebook.com/groups/lot21.gki/ and follow the link to pay via pay pal enquiries to Darlutta 0432 659 352 or over the counter at Yester Years (at Gnomes) 104 William Street Rockhampton.