COMPANY NAME: Mungalla Aboriginal Tours
LOCATION: near Ingham, Queensland
Discover the Culture of Mungalla Station and the Nywaigi People
Mungalla Aboriginal Tours offer visitors a unique insight into Nywaigi Aboriginal culture and introduces them to the fascinating history of the station. Mungalla Station is located 12 kilometres out of the sugar cane town of Ingham, in tropical North Queensland. The property features the old homestead, and some of the most significant wetlands in the region. Mungalla is owned by the Nywaigi Aboriginal Land Corporation and has a large membership of traditional owners from seven family groups/clans.
Visitors are can take a guided tour of the property, including storytelling and the opportunity to view Aboriginal artefacts, and have a go at throwing a boomerang or spear. On a Mungalla Station Tour visitors obtain an insight into the history of Mungalla Station, learning about the confrontations between European settlers and Nywaigi Aboriginal people and how James Cassady and his family protected the local Aboriginal people. The graves of James Cassady and his son, the first European settlers on Mungalla, can be seen on the property.
Jacob Cassady is the gregarious, friendly and very informative host – with a clear passion for his job as Manager of Mungalla Station. A core message comes through very clearly when meeting with Jacob, and that is that it is vital to protect the land, the environment, and the culture and history of his ancestors. He notes that there is so much about Mungalla Station that is special. “For me personally, as someone connected to this part of the country, there are a number of interesting things that stand out about Mungalla Station. Like the unique pioneering history that you can actually feel down at the old Homestead site, the amazing story of the captive lives, the natural beauty of the place, like the wetlands and the palm creek that is home to aquatic bird life, and simply the feeling of being part of the Mungalla Story.”
Jacob adds that he believes it is very important to share the Captive Live story with tour participants. The Captive Lives Exhibition was a travelling exhibition that has toured Australia. It is now is displayed on the top floor of the Mungalla Station homestead. It tells the tragic story of how two groups of Aboriginal people were taken and displayed through the circuses of Europe.
Jacob was born and bred locally in the Herbert River district. He is the eldest of nine children, and spent time with his family in Redfern in Inner Sydney, where he gained numerous skills, including a love for his community, and completed an Advanced Diploma in Community Management at the Macquarie University and a Bachelor of Arts in Community Development and Adult Education at the University of Technology in Sydney.
Mungalla provides a really refreshing and hands-on cultural experience, the love and reverence they convey about their land and community shines through in everything they do on the property – from the warm welcome you receive as a guest and the environmental practices they have implemented, to their on-going support of the local community and employment opportunities. Jacob emphasises Mungalla’s priority is to “leave the next generation with a healthy country they can share with the world…”
Land management and business sustainability
Mungalla have introduced numerous land management practices, including working on weed management with CSIRO; and actively participate in the National Green Corps project – to assist young people with job readiness skills.
Extensive work and effort has gone into regenerating the Wetlands; allowing native plants and animals, and local birdlife to return and flourish – which has been a tremendously successful partnership project between the Traditional Owners of Mungalla and the CSIRO.
Business sustainability underpins all activities on the station. Income is generated from tourism, cattle agistment and herd development, land management, and training and education. Careful planning, management and partnerships have been developed to ensure the business remains financially sustainable and can provide essential and future employment opportunities, particularly for local Indigenous people.
Mungalla Station has done an incredible job in developing a unique experience and business model; with many lessons learnt along the way. Jacob leaves us with the clear advice we can all benefit from “don’t pull the cart before the horse… you can’t give jobs and training if ya aint got a feasible enterprise to sustain them!”
Mungalla Station has deservedly won recent North Queensland and Queensland Tourism Awards; and last year won Silver in the national Australian Tourism Awards. Congratulations to their outstanding achievements!
Visitors can enjoy guided station tours, participate in hands-on activities including Boomerang throwing, and buy local authentic Aboriginal arts and crafts. Meals and light refreshments are available at the newly opened coffee shop. Tours currently run on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, or any time on demand. Transfers are available from Townsville with Kookaburra Tours (www.kookaburratours.com.au) for those without their own vehicle.
Food is an important part of Australian indigenous culture. If requested in advance, tour groups can be provided with a ‘Kup Murri’ lunch. Kup Murri is a traditional Aboriginal style of underground cooking, including meats and vegetables.
Tours cost $40 per adult; $10 per child; concessions available. Tell Jacob we sent you!
Join us on Our Planet Travel’s eco adventure: