Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre

Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre 

69 Red Rock Road, Corindi Beach NSW

Yarrawarra is situated in the homelands of the Garby Elders and the Gumbaynggirr people, surrounded by tranquil bushland, pristine beaches and abundant wildlife. The Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre boasts a first rate Bush Tucker Cafe, exceptional Regional Indigenous Art Gallery and Nuralamee Accommodation and Conference Centre; where we host school excursions, business conferences, camps and special events. Activities and workshops at Yarrawarra include Aboriginal art classes, Gumbaynggirr history and story sessions, dance and music classes, clay modelling, traditional basket weaving, and tours of Aboriginal sites.

The gallery also features Jalumbo Cultural Heritage Keeping Place, with a variety of Indigenous artefacts and historical treasures representing over 4,000 years of Aboriginal life on the mid-north coast, as well as an extensive display of regionally produced traditional and contemporary arts and crafts, books, CDs and giftware.

Contact Wadjar Regional Indigenous Gallery on (02) 6640 7104 or email gallery@yarrawarra.com.au

Arrawarra: Sharing Culture Project

Arrawarra Headland, 7km north of Woolgoolga, is a site of strong significance for both Aboriginal people and marine scientists. For thousands of years, Garby Elders, from the Gumbaynggir Nation, have relied on the headland for a wide variety of resources; it is also a site that is central to local cultural activities and spirituality. Evidence for Aboriginal use of the headland and adjacent areas can be found wherever you look, ranging from the large stone fish traps on the headland, to the midden adjacent to Arrawarra Creek.

Much more recently, the headland was recognised by scientists as a site with a large range of marine habitats that supports a high biodiversity. This led the University of New England to establish a marine research station on the headland in the 1960s. Since then, the field station has attracted researchers and students from all over the world. Their discoveries have made an important contribution to our understanding of the marine biology and ecology of the region, and have been instrumental in helping to conserve and manage marine biodiversity.

Arrawarra: Sharing Culture is an educational project with a number of key objectives. First and foremost, the project seeks to summarise knowledge about traditional harvesting, and related activities, as part of the process of educating future generations of Gumbaynggirr people. Secondly, the project provides an ideal opportunity to educate the wider community about the rich traditional and cultural knowledge held by Garby Elders. Although the information necessarily focuses on a small geographical area, the harvesting methods and sustainable principles that are described are more widely relevant. Another important objective of the project is to exchange information between scientists and traditional users to establish the monitoring program that is required under the terms of the Conservation Plan. This means that scientists were taught about the species that are commonly collected, and that Garby Elders were taught scientific monitoring methods. This exchange of information has been a highlight of the project involving some memorable field trips to different collecting sites.

From the outset, it was important to involve of all the key groups with interests in traditional harvesting and the management of Arrawarra Headland. For this reason a Steering Committee was formed from representatives of the Garby Elders, Yarrawarra Aboriginal Corporation, Jalumbo Cultural Heritage Unit, University of New England, NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (Marine Parks section), Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority, and Australian Government Land and Coasts.

The first step in the project was to commission traditional artworks that summarised the cultural and spiritual heritage of the Garby Elders, focusing on Arrawarra Headland. These stunning works by Alison Williams depict a wide range of activities, stories and places, and were used to illustrate the primary output from the project, the Fact Sheets.

The Fact Sheets comprehensively summarise information on 20 topics. They are designed for use in classrooms, and for field work, but are also a useful tool for project work and wider education on traditional harvesting and culture.

If you would like guided tours during which much of the information contained in the Facts Sheets is explained in the field by knowledge holders, please email info@arrawarraculture.com.au or events@yarrawarra.org.au or phone EJ Williams on (02) 6640 7102.

Bloodrock Massacres Plaque

Red Rock Massacre

The Red Rock headland is reputedly the sight of a massacre of Gumbaynngirr indigenous people in the 19th century. A memorial has been erected at the base of the headland to commemorate this. Aboriginal women tend to avoid the site. The massacre began at Blackadders Creek when mounted police entered the camp. They started shooting and then pursued the survivors to the Red Rock river where they continued shooting. Some people were then driven off the headland. The headland was named Red Rock because the river went red from the blood of the indigenous people.

Singing the Coast

Margaret Somerville, Tony Perkins   

Publisher: Aboriginal Studies Press, May 2010

Singing the coast - cover
Singing the coast - photo

Singing the Coast offers readers a rare opportunity to visit the heart of Gumbaynggirr culture and trace the shaping of place and identity in coastal Australia. The story began under the coral trees at the Old Camp where Tony Perkins first sat with his grandfather and listened to his stories. His grandfather was an initiated man who brought the spirit creatures along to teach the knowledge that was once passed on in initiation. By recording their stories Gumbaynggirr people invite us to share their intimate connection with their land. The stories are brought into a contemporary present at Muurrbay through deep mapping of the songlines that cross Gumbaynggirr country to reveal how people, place and identity are connected. Tony Perkins and Margaret Somerville take up the challenge of speaking from the place between Aboriginal and settler stories to share the experience of this rich collaboration.

Red Rock, Corindi Beach, Arrawarra, Moonee Beach, Nambucca Heads, Look At Me Now headland (Emerald Beach), Clarrie Skinner and his family are all featured.

Margaret Somerville writes from Indigenous stories of the natural world and is passionately interested in landscape and questions of identity and belonging. This is her fifth book about place attachments, three of these written in collaboration with Aboriginal people and communities. She is a Professor of Education at Monash University.

Tony Perkins is a cultural knowledge holder and member of the Garby Elders of Corindi Beach in New South Wales. He revitalised Yarrawarra Aboriginal Corporation where he was Manager until he became CEO of an Aboriginal employment agency in Coffs Harbour. He is motivated by the desire to reconnect young Aboriginal people to their culture in order to build a proud and strong Aboriginal future.

Singing the Coast | Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies