5 April 2023

Life Without Barriers staff and young people were honoured to celebrate with Uncle Boomi as sacred land is returned to Traditional Owners, the Ugarapul and Yuggera people.

Image: Five men perform a smoking ceremony, with one playing the didgeridoo, at the Whinpullin land handover celebration.

On 18th March, Life Without Barriers joined Uncle Boomi in the joyful celebration of land handover for the Ugarapul and Yuggera people.

To the Ugarapul people, Whinpullin (also known as Minto Crag) is the equivalent of Uluru.

Whinpullin is an ancient rock formation which, according to one story in Aboriginal lore, is known as a ‘giant ancestral eel’. The Dhagun Yumba Aboriginal Corporation (DYAC) took freehold title of 26 hectares of the land, approximately 80 kilometres south-west of Brisbane, for the benefit of the Aboriginal people connected to the land.

Silvia Jones-Torres, Life Without Barriers Cultural Support Planner, attended the event and shared her reflections on the celebration.

“An amazing day run by Dhagun Yumba. Some of the Traditional Custodians sang, played the Didgeridoo and did some special dances for us."

"It was moving to hear one of them speak about how the sacred rock formation in Boonah’s south-west will be protected forever after being put back in the hands of Traditional Owners today.”

Image: Aboriginal men and women performing a dance at the Whinpullin land handover celebration.

Community members who joined the day’s celebrations included four young people who were supported by Life Without Barriers to attend, alongside Silvia, Leoni Lippitt, State Lead Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Initiatives, and other Life Without Barriers support staff.

Dave, who is Aboriginal and one of the four young people who attended, shared his reflections on the significance of the occasion.

“I knew it was an important and significant day - I was glad to be there and be a part of it."

"When it was time for the smoking ceremony, I could tell that some of the other boys were a bit anxious as they hadn't been to one before. I had, so I went first to show the others it was ok.”

Daniel, another Aboriginal boy who attended with Life Without Barriers support, said, “I felt nervous about the smoking ceremony at first because I’ve never done one before. But I knew that this was important to do. Then once I went through the smoke, I was excited.”

Mark and Chris, who attended with Daniel and Dave, shared similar feelings as the other boys.

“I didn't really understand what was going on, but I could tell it was a really important day because there were government officials, flags on the table and all,” said Mark.

“At first, I felt a little out of place, but everyone made us feel welcome. And it was good how other Life Without Barriers staff that were there came and stood with us, and we all went through the smoking ceremony together,” Chris added.

Image: Smoking ceremony at the Whinpullin land handover celebration.

Senior Youth Worker Vere Lambert-Morris, who works with the four young people, said, “All the boys said they learnt a lot from being at the event. We had some time to reflect after the event, and they all said they were happy and proud to have been part of the ceremony.”

Leoni was very grateful to be invited to celebrate with the Ugarapul and Yuggera people.

“It was an amazing day shared with the Traditional Custodians, families and community,” she said.

"Thank you to Uncle Boomi for making this experience real, inviting us to be on his land for something words cannot explain.”

In recent years, the recognition and protection of this significant site has seen the coming together of Traditional Owners, community and nearby residents.

“Some Elders and traditional custodians returned to the site for the first time, as the site is not easily accessible for Elders and large groups, and is known as a sacred Ugarapul site.” Shared Lynda Maybanks, Chair of Dhagun Yumba Aboriginal Corporation (DYAC).

As a result of the land transfer, DYAC hold the land as an inalienable freehold. This means the land cannot be bought, sold or mortgaged and is held in perpetuity for the benefit of the Aboriginal people connected to that land.

An important occasion that is well worth celebrating.

Life Without Barriers acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this country and acknowledges their connection to land, water and community. We pay our respect to them, their cultures and customs and to their Elders past, present and emerging.

We are committed to Reconciliation

Learn more about our commitment to Reconciliation through our Reconciliation Action Plan

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