Hunt on for history of Tableland indigenous group
LOST history of the Muluridji traditional land owners has spurred researchers to uncover findings from pre-colonialism.
A 12-month project funded by the Federal Indigenous Heritage Program to the tune of $85,000, has a small group of researchers excited at the prospects of what they are yet to discover.
The group, steered by James Cook University anthropology student and research assistant Carol Chong, Flinders University archaeologist Dr Mick Morrison and anthropologist Dr Darlene McNaughton, said very little cultural heritage research had been undertaken with the Muluridji people.
The group will carry out surveys, record cultural histories, and conduct cultural heritage mapping work on Muluridji traditional lands.
Dr Morrison said they had already found a wealth of important cultural heritage sites.
“There’s a bit of history in the archives in Adelaide but it has never been pulled together,” Dr Morrison said.
“There is a lot of mining and European history told but the Aboriginal story has been left out so it’s good to collect their history and help the wider community understand Aboriginal history in this area.
“There are little pockets of country that have not been cleared for farming so we are stumbling across much of that.”
Ms Chong, who is also the Muluridji community coordinator, said there was a need to recapture Aboriginal history so it could be recognised within the community.
“For all we know there could be more Muluridji families that could add their name to the Native Title Claim,” Ms Chong said.
“The Muluridji people have a long history here and in the long term we’re hoping to offer heritage and ranger training opportunities.”
The group has a large area to cover from Mareeba to Mt Carbine and have been out on the Little Mitchell River, the Hahn Tableland and old Aboriginal reserves, some sites dating back more than 1000 years old.
Dr Morrison said Flinders University was exploring opportunities to develop and deliver a Certificate III or IV in Indigenous Heritage Management, but it would be next year before anything was ready to be delivered.
“We would hope to do one of our first pilot courses here on the Tableland,” he said.
“Many local residents will know of places such as rock shelters, art sites and artefact scatters that are on Muluridji country.
“Others may even have collections of cultural materials such as axes or grindstones in their hands that they have collected from paddocks.
“We would be very keen to hear from anyone with such information so that we can record as many places and objects as we can in constructing the Muluridji ‘cultural map’.”
He said although the project attracted Federal Government funding, he was always keen for more partnership funded opportunities.
Anyone with any Muluridji history to help with funding should contact Dr Mick Morrison, ph: 08 8201 5906.
Share this article
Muluridji elder Christine Madigan holds a cutting tool with anthropology student and research assistant Carol Chong. Picture: KYLIE REGHENZANI