Take a cultural journey past, present and future  - Bundaberg Region
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Take a cultural journey past, present and future 

Guest Blogger Bio Jess Marsellos
Yee Gee
, or hello in Taribelang language - this was one of the many traditional language learnings I took away from my time on the Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow tour run by Taribelang Bunda Cultural Tours, which is a meaningful and wonderful way to explore more of the Bundaberg region through the lens of our First Nations custodians. 

This immersive, thoughtful and intimate tour shares the rich history and culture of the Taribelang people who have lived on country for more than 60,000 years while visiting sites of significance and truth telling and story sharing of what has been, what is now and what is to come. 

A cultural tourist likes to learn about the local culture while travelling, visit cultural sites, meeting the locals, joining guided tours, learning a few words of local language, visiting lesser known destinations and trying local food. The Yesterday, today, tomorrow tour encapsulates all of this and more.

You will meet your Taribelang Bunda guides at the Taribelang Bunda office in Perry St, North Bundaberg and join no more than 10 other guests in an air conditioned mini bus to take this intimate tour. 

After the Welcome to Country, which is spoken in both English and Traditional Language, the tour sets off under the Burnett River (Booral Booral) bridge and weaves through the centre of town, educating participants on many of the traditional place names in Bundaberg before emerging at Baldwin Swamp. 

Quintessential bush smells and sounds greet you at this stop - the shrill bird calls of Rainbow Lorikeets, crushed tea tree and a general earthy aroma hit you in waves as you stand under the shade of the Melaleuca trees that line the entryway. 

Your guide will explain the swamp was a place of rest and natural water source for elders past and provided essential shelter, food and medicine items (like melaleuca leaves) for treating ailments. When the land needed them to move on they would, it was not a permanent place of residence but provided everything they needed for a time.  

From Baldwin Swamp you will take in some local landmarks like the Bundaberg East Water Tower, Millaquin Mill and Rum Distillery - both of which have interesting and sometimes dark stories to tell from the past.  

From there you drive past Bundaberg Brewed Drinks and through some more suburban landscape where your guide will share with you lots of interesting information about the location and history as you drive through. 

The darker side of historical aspects of farming and cane industry is also explored with the practice of blackbirding and taking slaves from South Sea Islander communities to remove large volcanic rocks and stones from what is now abundant farmland. Many of the Kanaka Walls can be seen lining farmland and if you visit the Basin which is a popular swimming spot - that was a result of this painful history which is acknowledged. 

Now you will find yourself atop one of the only hills in Bundaberg - The Hummock where you get to stretch your legs again and take in the patchwork vistas of the region. 

Here your guide will talk in depth about how Boomerangs are made and what Taribelang Elders will look for when picking the perfect tap roots of a Wattle tree to create them. 

Morning tea stop is next and on our tour day we got to enjoy home-made damper with a mouthwatering lilly pilly jam and bush tomato relish. Simple but delicious nosh to be shared together in the shade near the rest stop on the Hummock. 

As the bus meanders through from the Hummock, near Mon Repos and to Kirby’s Wall, taking in vistas of cane, scrub and country - your guide will share interesting information about traditional roles within the culture, how messages were passed through country historically, the roles of family and border kinship and the totem animals and their traditional language names.

These totems are significant to the Taribelang peoples and new generations are connecting and caring for country through the WYLD (Where Youth Live Dreams) project and Taribelang Elders, conducting environmental conservation with a focus on the white-throated snapping turtle (or Milbi, as referred to in Taribelang language).

As you drive through Mon Repos you will learn about numerous shell middens which are dotted around this area as it was a rich and abundant source of food and the middens are places where people would join together. 

Being in and around the natural environment through this part of the tour as it weaves between Mon Repos and Kirby’s Wall content of the tour moves to sharing valuable environmental knowledge and how traditional custodians cared for the country and moved with what country needed, seasons and connection to land including valuable information about communication tools used in the past and the significance of message sticks. 

As you amble out of the bus at Kirby’s Wall and look across to Paddy’s Island a gentle river breeze will blow and the vast buttress roots of the figs that provide shade and a rest stop will greet you. What will also meet you is a sombre mood as the painful past of Paddy’s Island across the river is shared openly and honestly. It’s a moving part of the tour and a vital acknowledgement of past atrocities. This is the beauty of this tour - nothing is glossed over or made right - it’s an honest truth telling and sharing space to engage and inform. 

On the way back to where the tour started, your guide will share more knowledge on place names and sites of historical significance - taking in Boundary Street, art on the facade of the Indigenous Wellbeing Centre and more. 

MREC Banner 1*Book direct with Taribelang Bunda Cultural Tours and save! Two-for-One offer ends 19 February 2023.*

This tour enables you to look at the region through a different lens - our traditional owners lens - and it’s an important and valuable one to be shared with locals and visitors to the region alike. You can immerse on Country and connect with Bundaberg's entertwined first nations history and modern day living, by booking your experience here.



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