EXPLORE OUTBACK HISTORY, HERITAGE & CULTURE
Queensland’s Southern Outback has a strong connection with Indigenous culture and heritage and to honour the year of Indigenous Tourism, we invite you to delve into the rich history of the Aboriginals’ who lived in Australia for thousands of years before the European Settlement. Their story is both inspirational and tragic, and to understand more about the industries that shaped Australia we ask you to share stories through a tour or experience in Queensland’s Southern Outback.
As you travel through Queensland’s Southern Outback, you will be passing through the country of the Bigambul, Mandandanji, Gunggari, Kamilaroi, Imam, Bidjara, Mardigan, Kunja, Wongkumara, Boonthamurra, Budgiti, and Kullilli peoples.
You can get an insight into the lives of Aboriginal people before and after European settlement at numerous sites throughout the region such as:
- Sun viewings and Universal Dreaming at Charleville’s Cosmos Centre
- Indigenous artworks at Carnarvon Gorge National Park
- Aboriginal native wells at Yuleba
- Traditional Aboriginal Campsite (Combarngo Brothers’ original humpy) – Aboriginal Interpretative Shelter at Surat
- Indigenous rock art at the Mt Moffatt National Park and the Yumba Indigenous Knowledge Sharing Centre at Mitchell
- Aboriginal Rock Art at Injune
- The Aboriginal dreamtime artwork on the Riverwalk in Bollon
- The Aboriginal Achievers plaque in the Hebel Historical Circle celebrating Hebel residents who made significant contributions in the areas of education and sports.
- The Gully Walk at Nindigully where you can read about local Aboriginal people and reflections from Sir Thomas Mitchell’s Journal
With 27 million years worth of history, heritage and culture, Carnarvon Gorge welcomes up to 70,000 visitors every year.
The visitors come from all around the world to discover the ancient sandstone cliffs, the abundance of unique bird and plant life, and not to mention the culturally significant indigenous artworks which serve a continuing reminder of Aboriginal people’s connection with this land.
Visitors make the challenging, but picturesque walk to Carnarvon Gorge’s ‘Art Gallery’, which is considered to be one of the most significant stencil artworks in the country. It features over 2,000 artworks, ochre stencils and engravings, and is displayed up and along 62m of sandstone wall in the national park.
Currawinya National Park
Currawinya National Park is a living cultural landscape for Traditional Owners, the Budjiti peoples. The lakes, rivers and other land systems are of great Aboriginal cultural significance, therefore, must remain protected.
Lake Wyara and Lake Numalla, in particular, protect thousands of years of Aboriginal cultural heritage as well as a vast array of endemic, rare and threatened species. For these reasons, some activities may not be permitted and guests are asked to respect and leave all artefacts as you find them.
Burke & Wills Dig Tree
In August 1880, the Victorian Government sponsored an expedition to make the first south-north crossing of the continent to the Gulf of Carpentaria. Robert O’Hara Burke and WIlliam John Wills led the ill-fated trip from Melbourne, reaching Cooper Creek by December. Burke and Wills started north with Grey and King, while four men remained. Only hours before Burke and Wills return, the Stockade Depot Camp party left, after carving instructions into the trunk of a tree to dig for buried provisions.
The exhausted party dug up the provisions and tried to travel south without leaving a message that they had returned. The base camp team turned around and returned one final time to check the camp. They found it just as they had left it and headed for Menindee.
Burke and Wills both died, while a third surviving party member, King, was rescued by local Aboriginal people until a European rescue team found him. The tree emblazoned with the message to dig for provisions became known as the Dig Tree. If you decide to take the 180km detour between Eromanga and Thargomindah to the Dig Tree, you will visit the site of one of European exploration’s most tragic stories. The blazes on the Dig Tree are a memorial to the Burke and Wills expedition.