I have discovered three off-the-beaten track Indigenous sites, on the Sunshine Coast, that are culturally significant to different groups of Indigenous Australians. The Kabi Kabi (Gubbi Gubbi) are the recognised traditional owners of two of these sites, with a third location being recognised as traditional country of the Nalbo clan of the Jinibara People, the determined native title holders and mountain people of South East Queensland.
1. Little Rocky Creek : Axe Grinding Grooves
Old Gympie Road, Landsborough
The Kabi Kabi First Nation People welcome you to the Axe Grinding Grooves in Little Rocky Creek!
Travel along Steve Irwin Way towards Landsborough. Turn off into Landsborough and travel along Maleny Street to the roundabout, where you take a left into Gympie Street South. Travel for approximately one and a half kilometres down this road, in a southerly direction, when the road name changes to Old Gympie Road. Look out for the easy-to-miss signage indicating the Indigenous site 100 metres ahead.
Park your car on the side of Old Gympie Road - the car park is big enough to accommodate six cars and on the day of our visit, we were the only visitors. Take a minute to read the interesting signage at the entrance, before following the path along a fifty metre gravel track down to the creek, which is accessed by ten steps. Have a look around you, there are at least six well-defined grooves, worn to the shape of the stone axes.
The 200 million year old sandstone and water flow at the Little Rocky Creek created the perfect spot for grinding tools such as axe heads, spearheads and cutting stones, etching a glimpse into days of old. Both the Kabi Kabi and the Jinibara people used this location to make and sharpen their tools as well as to build canoes and to find and crush their food.
The rock in the creek area provided a natural bridge to cross the creek when this was the route between Brisbane and Gympie Goldfields in the mid 1800's. The exposed rock contains marks made by the wheels of the famous Cobb & Co coaches that used to make this trip.
Take time out to explore the tranquil creek and its surrounds
Take some time out to enjoy exploring around this very picturesque little creek and be on the lookout for goannas roaming about and bird nesting boxes up in the trees.
2. Baroon Pocket Narrows Road, Montville
Baroon Pocket Dam was built in the late 80's, so was still a twinkle in the eye during the early Bunya Nut Festivals
Baroon Pocket is in the traditional country of the Nalbo clan of the Jinibara People. The Jinibara People proudly showcased their connection to the forested hills of their country by using symbolic fern designs in their body paint. The Baroon Pocket indigenous location is much easier to access than the other two sites on this list.
Bunya Pines, tall and strong! Image: LeaOz to Pixabay License
Baroon Pocket was the focal point for one of the best known gatherings of Indigenous people in South East Queensland, the Bunya Nut Festival. Every three years or so, there would be a bumper crop yield from the Bunya Pine, which would herald clan gatherings of hundreds, and sometimes thousands of Indigenous Australians. Travellers to Baroon Pocket came from all over South East Queensland and northern New South Wales, using pathways that provided safe passage through the traditional countries of other groups. Mill Hill Road and Obi Obi Creek were such pathways that were utilised for this purpose.
Colourful, edible and nutritious! Image: Bunya Nuts Pip Courtney to Landline www.abc.net.au
Traditionally, the 'Bunya' nuts would be roasted on hot stones on camp fires, the flavour being likened to that of a roasted Sweet Chestnut. Today, ground roasted Bunya nuts are used to make hummus, biscuits and bread. A word of warning: be careful to pierce the nut before cooking, otherwise they may explode!
Secrets on the Lake overlooks Lake Baroon and is located right next to the campfire circle stones that were used in bygone days at the traditional Baroon Pocket gatherings for local tribes. When visiting the magical Secrets on the Lake for breakfast, lunch or high tea, check-in with reception to learn more interesting stories about the First Nation People. Why not make a day of it and try out a couple of scenic walks in the area - there's the Narrows and Baroon Lookouts walk, which is part of the Kondalilla National Park; the Kondalilla Falls Circuit and the Martin Williams Nature Walk.
3. Bora Ring
Rapkins Road, off Johnston Road, Glass House Mountains
The Kabi Kabi First Nation People welcome you to the Bora Ring in the Glass House Mountains!
Turn at the Bora Ring signage to travel down a dirt track...
How to get to the Bora Ring in the Glass House Mountains
Another historical Indigenous site can be visited at Johnston Road, just south of the Glass House Mountains township. Keep your eyes peeled for the 'Bora Ring' signage as it can quite easily be missed. This site is about 2.8km off the road, down a dirt track, between Mt Cooee and a pineapple farm.
Please stay outside the 'external' ring to help preserve this cultural site
People gathered here for business, dancing and ceremonies. In this region, boras are called durns. The durn is a large raised circle of earth made by the women within an Indigenous clan. A smaller circle, known as a kippa was usually located about sixty metres away and connected to the durn by a pathway. Male initiates used the kippa for learning and ceremony. People would gather at the Bora Ring and together, with a Bora Council, would make important decisions on behalf of their mob.
Allow the silence of the Bora grounds to envelop you, where they once echoed with the sounds and colour of traditional Indigenous gatherings.
Allow the silence of the Bora grounds to envelop you ...
The fragile earth works of Bora grounds are easily damaged. Please stay outside the ring to help preserve these important cultural sites.
Indigenous sites are scattered throughout the Sunshine Coast region, with the region being highly sought after by First Nations People, for the natural resources to be found. Have you discovered any off the beaten track locations that are rich in indigenous cultural heritage and have proudly withstood the test of time? If you have, please drop me a note in the 'comments' section, I would love to hear about them for a future journey into the past.
Mt Tibrogargan, the father of all the other Glass House Mountains, except for his wife, Beerwah