First traditional Aboriginal canoe for Sunshine Coast in 150 years
  • Tuesday 18 December 2012

Sunshine Coast Council’s Cultural Heritage Levy is funding a ground-breaking Aboriginal cultural project Gubbi Gubbi Gun'doo Yang'ga'man.

Community Programs Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said funding from the cultural heritage levy allows for the delivery of initiatives that preserve, promote and celebrate the Sunshine Coast's heritage.

"One such initiative is the Gubbi Gubbi Gun'doo Yang'ga'man project which provides an awareness and celebrates our regions important heritage," Cr McKay said.

"The project has enabled four enthusiastic Gubbi Gubbi men to construct the first traditional Aboriginal bark canoes in the region for over 150 years. Sadly there are no local Elders experienced in the ancient craft of canoe making, who can pass the knowledge on to them."

The Gubbi Gubbi Gun'doo Yang'ga'man project has been guided by information from written and drawn records found through some extensive research of canoes of South East Queensland.

The group aims to build two full-sized canoes, one which will be launched bearing a fire, as was traditionally done, at the upcoming Floating Land celebration. The other will be exhibited at the Noosa Regional Gallery next year, together with a filmed documentary of the project.

The construction of the first bark canoe has commenced. Over a nine-hour period, Lyndon Davis, Brent Miller, Nathan Morgan and Kerry Jones successfully harvested bark from a large White Mahogany, carefully leaving behind a wide vertical strip so that the tree will continue to grow.

The group are now in the process of firing and preparing the bark with natural resins and vines to create the first traditional canoe that will measure over 4m in length.

This ancient practice has been revived to raise awareness of the Gubbi Gubbi culture, and to relearn traditional skills that may be passed down to future generations.

Film-making company, Earthbase Productions, is documenting the group’s progress, capturing the highs and lows, and the important learning process.