JOURNEYING: Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre (KALACC) 2018 Festival

Every two or three years Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre (KALACC) hosts a major regional festival attracting up to 3000 people from across the Kimberely. 2017 Festival was at Lombadina September 18-21. Photos by Jo-Anne Fay Duncan in Facebook gallery documents "arguably these are the largest festivals in Australia dedicated to promoting traditional Aboriginal culture" Retrieved from January 29, 2018

JOURNEYING: Kangaroo Island, Reflecting on Islands of the World Conference July 2017

The 15th Islands of the World Conference was a gathering of peoples at Kangaroo Island Australia, July 2-7 2017 organised by the ISISA the International Small Islands Studies Association. Conference themes were considered, determined and decided before island visitors arrived. How else to organise a rabble of renegade and retired academics, active senior citizens, young minds and hearts, smart people and passionate locals?

Kangaroo Island as host is beset with a near and imminent drive for tourism, looming branding and stamped packaging. Not for the faint hearted. Internationals and interstate visitors were rendered effete by it, despite the size of their heart. A conversation back in February 2014 with Delvene Cockatoo-Collins concerning Kangaroo Island at the 1st South East Queensland Island Forum ‘Tourism, Transport and Local Economies’ on Canaipa (Russell Island) questioned how any Kangaroo Island initiative could succeed with the Aboriginal understanding of it as place of the dead.

Of most interest at the 2017 conference were models of diplomatic activism and active citizenship.  Notions of island-ness and their jurisdictions were shared. Understandings of islands as incubators of ideas for global survival, ecological restoration and celebration were aired. 

The poetic academic writing about island as metaphor by Alice Teasdale in her paper On inhabited islands: Shakespeare, Stevenson, magic, colonisation and the public imagination, Professor Elizabeth McMahon sharing of poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner performance at the United Nations Climate Leaders Summit in 2014 and Amy Kerr Allen speaking about the sinking islands of Kiribati in her presentation An island out of water: challenges created by centralisation of population and services in Kiribati were engaging presentations and speakers.

Post conference conversation with Jackie Cooper back home at Minjerribah was of island as haven and a  character profiling of islanders as miscreants, misfits, buccaneers, pirates and voyagers.

Happy snaps follow by and of, we delegates and tourists of Kangaroo Island who are three generations of matrilineal descent from aetipical ancestor Matilda Brown who now reside on Quandamooka Country.

2014 1st South East Queensland Island Forum ‘Tourism, Transport and Local Economies’ program can be found at this link

Islands of the World Conference July 2017, Kangaroo Island program link can be found at

Magic Tree

Toondah Harbour has its own magic tree, hidden between harbour car park and G. J. Walter Park it is all but invisible to those coming and going, but for tree climbers and young at heart.

"Ficus macrophylla, commonly known as the Moreton Bay fig or Australian banyan, is a large evergreen banyan tree of the family Moraceae that is a native of most of the eastern coast of Australia, The fruits are small, round and greenish, ripening and turning purple at any time of year. The fruit is known as a syconium, an inverted inflorescence with the flowers lining an internal cavity. Like all figs, it has an obligate mutualism with fig wasps; figs are only pollinated by fig wasps. Coincidentally, cinema goers will recognize the Moreton Bay Fig from the celebrated Australian movie, ‘The Tree’ shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010.

Next, the inner bark or roots were used to make a sturdy cloth and cord for bags as well as woven fishing nets. Also the branches as well as the bark were used to make waterproof dug-out canoes. Lastly, the milky sap, which exudes when the tree is cut was prepared as a medicine to treat infections and to dress small wounds. Paradoxically, it is found to be an irritant if it comes in direct contact with the skin.

Moreton Bay Fig Trees are native to Eastern Australia. They can reach a height of 40 m (approx. 130 ft) and have large buttress roots, sometimes as tall as a man"

Retrieved from August 29 2017

Hilliards Creek

Upon arrival at the Bligh Street access to Hiliards Creek a resident Striated Heron offers a greeting of sorts. Like an old man with hunch back, he lurks, amidst mangroves foraging on mudflats. Its depth and protected tidal pull is such that paddling is effortless. A well worn thoroughfare for first nation peoples and also the new arrivals of the past 200 years and their industry.

Despite a hefty utilitarian history it's extraordinary aesthetic value can be found in the complex and contrasting ecologies of salt marsh colours and entangled mangrove root watched over by paired Brahminy Kite soaring above.

"The Geoff Skinner wetlands form a large portion of the creek’s foreshore area bordering the Moreton Bay Marine Park.  It contains a number of critical high tide wader bird roost sites giving it very high conservation significance (Wader Site Data Collation and Survey Project for South East Queensland 1997, Department of Environment – collated by Gregory Miller).  A Management Proposal was drafted for the Geoff Skinner wetlands in December 1996 by Greenspace (a consultancy located in Wellington Point).  Given the age of the document, and did not include any stakeholder consultation, it is recommended that a new management plan should be developed at the earliest opportunity".

Retrieved from August 29 2017

"Waterways description

Hilliards Creek rises in the low hills of Sheldon and Thornlands either side of Taylor Road. Woodlands Drive forms part of the catchment boundary between Hilliards and Eprapah Creeks catchments. Hilliards Creek upper branches meet just north of Boundary Road and flows northward, through Alexandra Hills and Ormiston, draining into Central (Moreton) Bay. The creek is about 13km long.

The freshwater section of the creek ends at the road crossing at Sturgeon Street Ormiston and the estuarine section extends for three to four kilometres to the foreshore. Wetlands of state significance are located around the mouth of Hilliards Creek and foreshore of Wellington Point.


Hilliards Creek and its catchment have provided people with resources for thousands of years.  Bora rings and scar trees along the Creek near Weippen St are some of the surviving physical evidence left behind by early indigenous users.  The local clan was the Koobenpul, who spoke the same language as the Gorenpul of Dunwich.[1]

The first surveys

The first surveys of Hilliards Creek and surrounds were carried out in the early

1840s.  Surveyor James Warner surveyed the Creek up to approximately Boundary Rd, Thornlands, commenting that the creek was “navigable for boats about six miles and at the head is a lagoon of good water.” [2]   On a subsequent plan Warner noted the mouth of the creek contained a “foul rocky bed.” [3]

Surveyor Robert Dixon is credited with bestowing some of the district’s first non-indigenous names on various places, including Hilliards Creek. [4] The Creek is believed to have been named after Lieutenant Hilliard, an ensign in the British 28th Regiment of Foot, which was stationed in Moreton Bay.  In 1839 Hilliard was briefly in charge of the penal settlement between Commandant Cotton and Lieutenant Gravatt. [5]

Although it was named Hilliards Creek in the early 1840s, in 1859, when Captain Louis Hope was working on his sugar plantation at Ormiston, the creek was referred to as Wogan Creek.

First settlers

The first non-indigenous settlers began to seriously impact on Hilliards Creek from the late 1840s, mainly through small industries and particularly farming.  As a result, the Creek was used as a transport route, a water source and a drain. Industries included farming, sawmill, saltworks, woolscours, brickworks and gravel extraction".

Hilliards Creek History

Extract Author: Tracy Ryan, Local Historian RSC

Moogarrapum Creek

Despite it's water quality rating of D, Moorgurrapun Creek it's mangroves and ca is home to a community ofturquoise winged Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus) amidst the Casuarina equisetifolia (or Australian pine tree which is a she-oak species or Billa in local language). Uncle Bob Anderson reflects that this name in language means dugong delicacy.

Erosion, drain pipes, maps and pollution aside the playing with mobile phone photos and apps on site affords some raw black and white visual data of considerable contrast in light, line and reflection.

"Catchment description

Moogarrapum Creek catchment covers an area of 14km2 and is dominated by rural non-urban, commercial and a major landfill site west of the Cleveland Redland Bay Road.

East of the road, dominant land use is urban residential, bushland, waterway corridors and open space users. Rural non urban properties around Redland Bay are serviced by septic/on-site wastewater systems.

Natural features in the catchment on Council land are conservation areas, bushland refuges and Moorarrapum Creek corridors at Days Road, Giles Road, Emperor Drive wetland....

Health summary

Moogurrapum Creek declined to an overall water quality rating of D, indicating the creek is in poor condition with major modification to water quality. Very high levels of chlorophyll-a and high levels of nutrients and low dissolved oxygen influenced the rating this year. The in-stream habitat condition is moderate at sites Moo.02.L.S156 and Moo.01.M.S074 due to channel disturbance, low aquatic habitat diversity and a semi-continuous riparian zone".

Retrieved from August 31, 2017

Two Island Tribute exhibition was staged at the Frank Moran Gallery July 17-22, 2017. An event celebration was held Friday July 21, 6pm.

Visiting exhibition participants/collaborators/patrons were welcomed, watered and fed. They conversed, listened, were entertained, educated, enthralled and activated. Women, children, elders, young people and men were present. All basic criteria of a micro utopia present and accounted for.

A story was beget with an invitation from Elisabeth Gondwe musarian of the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum to host the exhibition on island. So to for the Mudlines Artists’ Residency, September 25 to October 1 on Canaipa (Russell Island).

There are ancient geologies and futures at stake with this development. The exhibition moves from the micro to aerial perspectives, with spoken, visual and written language communicating many voices and testament to the many values associated with the Bay. Vested interest should not take precedence over any or all of these.

Lyrical Writings of Cassim and Sandy Islands

Islands of Moreton Bay written by Helen Horton published by Brisbane Boolarong Publications in 1983 include this precious narrative of the two islands Cassim and Sandy which are so close to Nandeebie's (Cleveland) foreshore and Toondah Harbour. Writings such as this are testament to their contemporary cultural value.

Megan Cope and Aboriginal Place Names

Megan Cope is a Quandamooka woman and artist. Her artwork explores the reclamation of Australia's geographical place names.

An artists talk is scheduled for Saturday 2-3pm at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane. 

Pictured here is an image of at 2014 exhibition YUNGGULBA (FLOODTIDE) at the Redland Art Gallery.

"Yunggulba is an extension of the Megan Cope’s After the Flood series which explores geomorphology, raising questions about climate change and vulnerability of residents along the coastline of Australia. Cope combines military topographical maps (circa 1930-45) with basic cartographic symbology to reveal a multilayered landscape, dual histories, dual identities and the cultural legacy of colonialism. Aboriginal people at the time these maps were made were largely invisible in the social landscape and heavily affected by current government policies".

Retrieved from June 19, 2017

Cassim a History

THomas Welsby states in his Recollections of the Natives of Moreton Bay. Together with some of their names and Customs of Living delivered before the University Historical Society in 1967 that

"At that time, i.e., about 1879, there were many natives at Amity, some of the real dark old-day men, and as the moon was at its full, an improvised cor- roboree was given by the men and their gins. One comical native—and one, I daresay, well remembered by many boating men—was living there at the time, his gunyah being very close to tlie beach, not far from where the present test-house stands. He liad a deformed arm and leg, and could not take part in the more active games and dances of his comrades. He was a born actor and a wonderfully clever mimic, and as cunning as the verit- able rat. His name was Cassim, or, as he himself would ever put it, John William Cassim, Esquire. He was not the Cassim who kept the hotel at Cleveland'. (p.115)

"Billy Cassim, who sang a fairly decent song, English and black words intermingled, as he deemed it necessary,, was also the author of many Amity Point corroborees. His native name was "Nyoryo" supposed to mean "ropehauler." How often have I heard him sing, "We won't go home till morning," and "Rule Britannia." It hasbeen said that Billy was the composer of two comedies, "The Chinaman Corroboree" and "The South Passage Corroboree." (p.116)

"Billy Cassim died in 1890, and lies asleep not far from his namesake, Cassim of Cleveland, the burial being made in the native quarter in the Dunwich cemetery," (p.117)

An Indian national Johnny Cassim was transported to the Island of Mauritius for the term of  his natural life in 1828.  After transport again to Moreton Bay hee obtained a Ticket of Leave in 1843, Cassim went onto own boarding houses and died in Cleveland in 1884 a property owner and respected business man.

An Aboriginal man John William Cassim Esquire (Billy) was one of the men who rescued survivors of the Sovereign in 1844. It is assumed he took his name after 1855 when Johnny Cassim came into contact with local people. Patrick J Tynan in his book Johnny Cassim Coolie - Convict - Catchumen - Colonial Entrepereur 1814-1884 suggest that Billy Cassim would have "taken on Cassims' name" as "It often happened that Aboriginal people took the name of one of the non-aboriginal arrivals in their area, out of admiration" p.71.

Cassim Island was named after one or perhaps the other of these gentleman.

Of the Cassim Island wreck A. J. Pixley in a 1970 reading Shipwrecks ev Queensland and Adjacent Waters to The Society says

"At the time I thought it may have belonged to the steamer Toondah, the remains of which ship lie on Cassim Island just off Cleveland. This is the ship in which Cecil Fison's grandfather surveyed and beaconed the channels of Moreton Bay. My assumption that this boiler came from the Toondah proved to be wrong. CecU Fison told me that the boiler and engine had been removed at the Port Office. How or why the hull finished up at Cassim Island I am unable to say". (p.154)

Image taken from Tynan, P. J. (2005). Johnny Cassim Coolie - Convict - Catchumen - Colonial Entrepeneur 1814-1884

and Retrieved June 15, 2017


Pixley, A. J. (1970) iShipwrecks ev Queensland and Adjacent Waters. Reading to The Society.

Tynan, P. J. (2005). Johnny Cassim Coolie - Convict - Catchumen - Colonial Entrepeneur 1814-1884. Church Archivist's Press.

Welsby, T. H. O. S. (1917). Recollections of the natives of Moreton Bay. Historical Society of Queensland Journal1, 110-129.


There are 500 000 migrating birds leaving Australian shores every year. The Australasian Flyway encompaces 22 countries, and is a 25 000 km round trip. But many birds spend most of their time here. There are 35 different species and their survival is dependent on habitat preservation. Moreton Bay shore lines are under threat from the Toondah Harbour redevelopment and critical bird habitats will be built on or polluted.

"FLYWAY investigates the enchanting nature of migratory birds and the annual epic, threatened journeys they make across a shifting globe in search of rest, food and a nest. Wearing headphones and binoculars audiences are enveloped in a lush soundscape and led on a birdwatching tour through urban spaces to encounter special moments dotted along the path - birds framed by screens, lenses and the city itself. Using video, sound and performance FLYWAY merges foreground and background and points to our mediated experience of ‘nature’.

The richly layered audiovisual work is drawn from a partnership with Birdlife Australia and their volunteer networks. Elizabeth Dunn undertook an extensive, month-long field research trip along the coast between Melbourne and Maryborough (QLD) to meet with local birders, visit bird sites and collect field recordings. Inspired by colossal migrations, Flyway’s sonic character suggests thick clusters of bird flocks and dense clouds of sound, shifting up and down along the coasts of nations as it creates an auditory envelope around its participants".

Retrieved from June 11, 2017

I Matai (The Dead)

"Nandeebie Screen is a film and screen journey through the world of First Peoples, from locally produced to works from our brothers and sisters in the Pacific, to the Americas, the Artic circle and the deserts of the Sahara.  We are listening to the voices which beat alongside our own rhythms, seeking to share knowledges which illuminate our sovereign place in the world".

Retrieved from June 6, 2017

"Short films include I Matai (The Dead), which is an experimental take on the ancient Chamoru death ceremony told through the prayers of a man grieving over the death of his brother".

An extraordinary short  film involving fire, ritual offerings, water and sound,.


Cassim and Sandy Island Geography

Cassim and Sandy Island Geography

Gold Cats Flyer exits Toondah Harbour approximately hourly every day between 5am and 8pm. Cassim Island is less than one kilometre from the harbour and Sandy two.

Tides were extremely low Saturday afternoon May 27. It revealed the eastern reach of Cassim all the way to Sandy Island and the otherwise underwater geologies and their interconnectedness.

Read More

Moreton Bay

""The Moreton Bay is a bay located on the eastern coast of Australia 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) from central Brisbane, Queensland. It is one of Queensland's most important coastal resources.[1] The waters of Moreton Bay are a popular destination for recreational anglers and are used by commercial operators who provide seafood to market.

The Port of Brisbane coordinates large traffic along the shipping channel which crosses the northern section of the bay. The bay serves as a safe approach to the airport and reduces noise pollution over the city to the west of the runway. A number of barge, ferry and water-taxi services also travel over the bay.

Moreton Bay was the site of conflict between the indigenous Quandamooka people and early European settlers. It contains environmentally significant habitats and large areas of sandbanks. The bay is the only place in Australia where dugong gather into herds. Many parts of the mainland foreshore and southern islands are settled.

Moreton Bay is described as lagoonal because of the existence of a series of off-shore barrier islands that restrict the flow of oceanic water.[2] The tidal range is moderate at 1.5–2 metres (4 ft 11 in–6 ft 7 in) in range. Moreton Bay has an average depth of 6.8 metres (22 ft).[2] This shallow depth lets light filter through to the seafloor, allowing an array of marine plants to grow which support a diverse range of fauna. The bay itself covers 1,523 square kilometres (588 sq mi) and has a catchment area 14 times larger, covering 21,220 square kilometres (8,190 sq mi).[2] The waters of the bay are mostly blue in colour. Western parts of the bay are sometimes tinted green from algae, brown from suspended sediments or yellow-brown from humic runoff.[2]"

1. South East Queensland Regional Strategic Group (2000). Strategic Guide to Natural Resource Management in South East Queensland. p. 56. ISBN 0-7345-1740-8.

2. Dennison, William C.; Abal, Eva G. (1999). Moreton Bay Study: A Scientific Basis for the Healthy Waterways Campaign. Brisbane: South East Queensland Regional Water Quality Management Strategy Team. pp. 23–25. ISBN 0-9586368-1-8.


(Retrieved from March 23, 2017)

Local Council Mapping the Quandamooka

Released today by the Queensland Redistribution Commission were the new state electoral boundaries for the Redlands. These four electorates: Oodgeroo (formerly Cleveland), Capalaba, Redlands or Springwood which will include people living in Sheldon and Mt Cotton.

Oodgeroo was the traditional name of the Aboriginal poet and activist Aunty Kath Walker. Oodgeroo Noonuccal mans paper bark of the tribe Nunuccal (spelling variations include Nunuccal, Noonuckle and Nunukul).

Retrieved from…/the-final-determination

Flood and Storm Tide Hazard and and Environmental Significance Island Map Overlay retrieved from

May 26, 2017

Cassim Island - aesthetic musings

Cassim Island at dawn as seen through the eyes of a 15 year old, whose feet were buried deep in a mud rich so in microbes only a waterbird would know how to truly love it. The new Toondah Harbour revised redevelopment plans would see this intertidal zone under concrete.

" I put myself into the world and change it"

Ian Strange, visual artist and film maker says "I don't make narrative films... I create interventions in real life, then document them and then exhibit the documentation...I am also really interested in the stories that sit behind...I put myself into the world and change it."

Retrieved from February 28, 2017