December 17, 2020
A new tradition based on thousands of years of history is being forged at the Bunya Mountains thanks to the efforts of a younger generation keen to explore culture.
A corroboree held at Dandabah recently attracted hundreds of families and friends, echoing the gatherings the mountains used to host in the old days.
Dancers and musicians – including representatives from Cherbourg and Woorabinda – came from across Queensland and NSW to perform under the gaze of the nearby bunya pines, watched on by proud family members, children and Elders.
Organiser Damon Anderson, a Wakka Wakka / Gamilaroi man who lives in Brisbane, welcomed more than a dozen clans and language groups to the gembigimba (dancing place) created near the Bunya Mountains Accommodation Centre.
The bora was created out of earth transported to the site, and then decorated with ochre collected from different places around the South Burnett.
As a prelude to the celebrations, visitors and dancers were cleansed with smoke to the sound of chanting, digeridoos and clapsticks.
Then it was time for the dust up as the intricate ochre design – which included Bunya pine motifs – was obliterated by dancing feet.
Dancing groups took turns in the ring, with many popular traditional and play dances performed to applause from the spectators.
This is the second year the Bunya gathering has been held, and there are plans for many more.