The Mimburi book is progressing nicely. This is part of my Directed Studies (ARCH8403) project, which is part of my Masters of Cultural Heritage Management (see previous blog ‘Flora and Fauna of Mimburi- the Bush tucker/ bush medicine/ cultural uses book’ for more information). Aunty Beverly Hand (Kabi Kabi Traditional Custodian and Mimburi Upper Mary Aboriginal Association President) and myself have been for many walks around the property, photographing species of flora and fauna that we have come across and having discussions about their uses. When we return to the Wongai Room (the office) I have been undertaking research on various resources in order to gather more information. Currently we are collating all our information. Photographs have been placed in their species folders and we have a working draft of the book. We are now sitting on 100 species. At one stage it seemed that the book was getting bigger than Ben Hur and we had to remind ourselves that the goal is to produce a book on some of the flora and fauna of Mimburi. We cannot include every species that is at Mimburi for now. The book is like a stage one, or volume one, which the community can add to in the future.
We have identified three key species that we do not have photographs of, that we think are really needed in the book, as they are rare and threatened species and the key species that saved the property from being turned into the Mary River Dam in 2009. It was the five umbrella species, including the Giant Barred Frog and the Mary River Turtle (and others), that allowed the Federal Government, under environmental legislation, to stop the State Government’s plan to build the Mary River Dam. These five species are all found at the Mimburi property and thus we thought they were important to include in the book. Aunty Beverly and I will utilise our networks in order to find the three photographs required.
Azure Kingfisher at Mimburi (Photograph Kate Greenwood)
I have already met with Marc Russell, Environmental Operations Officer for Sunshine Coast Regional Council, who kindly offered his own personal collection of plant photographs for use in the book as long as acknowledgement is made to him. We will go down this track with other people for the key species as well.
We did try putting out a fauna monitor in three different places around Mimburi, which was lent to us from Sunshine Coast Regional Council, as the property has Land for Wildlife status. We have only so far managed to get images of a few cows and the tail of a Scrub Turkey, but hopefully we will capture some other species when we find the right position for it.
Fauna monitor in place (Photograph Kate Greenwood)
I have been busy reviewing Kabi Kabi language documents and, with the assistance of Aunty Beverly, have decided to utilise Zachariah Skyring’s 1870 recordings of Kabi Kabi language, as he lived close to Mimburi. His recordings were found via historical research and library visits. They are in no way a conclusive list and other Kabi Kabi language recordings and word lists will be utilised for species and items that we do not have names from Skyring. These word lists will include the work of Watson (1944), Petrie (1904), Mathew (1887), Ridley (1887), Westaway (1887), Landsborough (1887) and others. Bianca Bond, Aunty Beverly’s daughter, has been undertaking Kabi Kabi language work for quite some time now and her expertise will be essential for the audio recording of language names in the online version and for the spelling in the hard copy version of the book.
Some of Zachariah Skyring’s handwritten notes
A lot of the historical information has also been collated and added to the draft of the book. Where possible, we are using historical accounts to describe species and/ or their use. For example:
‘With the natural history and appearance of one of these relicts of the ancient forest, the Moreton Bay fig-tree, which I then saw for the first time, I was remarkably struck. This tree bears a species of fig, which I was told (for it was not in season at the time) is by no means unpalatable, and of which it seems both the black natives and the bronze-winged pigeons of the Australian forest are equally fond’ (Lang 1861:81).
We have decided to do it this way as we would like the book not to be like the usual flora and fauna books, in that each species tells a story that is unique. and therefore each page is different from the others.
Moreton Bay Fig (Photograph Kate Greenwood)
Discussions have been undertaken with Michael Aird, Director of Keeira Press, in regards to layout out the hard copy book. As we have no current funding, I am trying to learn graphic design layout for the book. We are still in discussions about what will work best and it seems that it will be similar to the historical information, i.e. that every page will be different, not just in text, but in visual design as well.
The next stage is to check with experts that we have photographed and identified the correct species and to continue with compiling the book.
Landsborough, W 1887 Portion of the Country Between Brisbane and Gympie, Curr, E. M 1887, 1886-1897 The Australian Race- its Origins, Languages, Customs, Place of Landing in Australia and the Routes by which it Spread Itself over that Continent, Volume III. Melbourne: John Ferres.
Lang, J. D 1861 A Highly Eligible Field for Emigration and the Future Cotton-field of Great Britain: With a Disquisition on The Origin, Manners, and Customs of the Aborigines. London: Edward Stanford.
Mathew, J 1887 Mary River and Bunya Bunya Country. In Curr, E. M (ed.), The Australian Race – its Origins, Languages, Customs, Place of Landing in Australia and the Routes by which it Spread Itself over that Continent, Volume III. Melbourne: John Ferres.
Petrie, C 1904 Tom Petrie’s Reminiscences of Early Queensland, Watson, Ferguson & Co.: Brisbane.
Ridley, W 1887 North side of Moreton Bay. In Curr, E. M (ed.), The Australian Race- its Origins, Languages, Customs, Place of Landing in Australia and the Routes by which it Spread Itself over that Continent, Volume III. Melbourne: John Ferres.
Skyring, Z 1870 Gympie District Aboriginal Dialect. Unpublished notes.
Watson, F 1944 Vocabularies of four representative tribes of south eastern Queensland with grammatical notes thereof and some notes on manners and customs. Supplement to Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of Australiasia (Queensland) 34 Vol. XLVIII.
Westaway, R 1887 Portion of the country Between Brisbane and Gympie. In Curr, E. M (ed.), The Australian Race- its Origins, Languages, Customs, Place of Landing in Australia and the Routes by which it Spread Itself over that Continent, Volume III. Melbourne: John Ferres.