Reconciliation Action Plan
At BAC, we believe that a commitment to the ongoing process of reconciliation is vital to the attainment of a better future for all Australians.
Brisbane Airport Corporation's Reconciliation Action Plan 2016-2018 sets out our commitment to working towards the achievement of genuine and sustainable reconciliation between Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider community. Through our actions and efforts we aim to contribute meaningfully to Closing the Gap, to reduce disadvantage among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
We are proud to formally commit to reconciliation through our Reconciliation Action Plan and important, to celebrate and promote the traditions, laws and customs of Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is core to how we work towards building relationships, respect and trust with our First Australians.
The Turrbal or Brisbane tribe occupied the country as far north as the North Pine, south to the Logan, and inland to Moggill Creek.
This tribe all spoke the same language, but, of course, was divided up into different clans known as ‘mobs’. The tribe in general owned the animals, birds on the ground, roots and nests, but certain men and women owned different fruit or flower-trees and shrubs.
Daki Yakka, anglicised to ‘Duke of York’ and this mob occupied the area from the Brisbane City to Pine River in the north. Also within the Turrbal country were the Dalaipi mob which occupied the North Pine/Caboolture areas; the Mulrobin mob which occupied the south-side of the Brisbane River/Coorparoo area; the Yerongpan mob which occupied the Yerongpilly/south-west Brisbane area; the Chepara mob which occupied the area south to Logan; and the Ningy Ningy mob which occupied the Redcliffe/Deception Bay and Toorbul Point areas, the Turrbal’s ancestral homeland. Some of these mobs also used Brisbane Airport and its surrounds from time to time for camping, hunting and gathering.
Dreaming Tracks and Dreaming Sites are an integral part of the Aboriginal people’s connection to country (the land-people relationship). Embedded within the Dreaming Tracks and Dreaming Places is the belief system, which regulates what ought/ought not do. Under Turrbal traditional laws and customs, laws are kept in songs, stories and dances, and are passed down from one generation to the next.
Brisbane Airport and surrounds are largely associated with the Maiwar (Brisbane River) Dreaming Track and the wider Brisbane Riverine catchment (wetland, floodplains and swamps); as well as the Ballum Di Dreaming Song; and Murukutjin (Black Swan) Dreaming Track.
Ballum Di is a Brisbane River song that underlines the significance of the riverine system and its connectivity to other places and sites, in particular, to the Maiwar and Murukutjin Dreaming Tracks. It is a dreaming song that connects particular places and locations along the Brisbane River. This song further connects other places of spiritual significance in south-east Queensland to form Dreaming Tracks – a regionalised network of beliefs and value systems within the wider, regional system.
The significance of Ballum Di to the Brisbane River is analogous to the significance of the Legend of Maroochy/Murukutjin to the Maroochy River and Coolum. In view of the intangible nature of the Dreaming Tracks it is difficult to measure potential impacts on their values. Under Aboriginal laws and customs, places like Brisbane Airport remain culturally and spiritually significant to the Turrbal people irrespective of any developments which may occur on the land.
A bora ring (ceremonial ground) is reported to have existed at Brisbane Airport, near the suburb of Pinkenba, and would have been used prior to and immediately after European settlement in the 1820s. Another bora ring also existed over 1km away at Pinkenba, in the location of the present Brisbane Portuguese Club. However both sites were later destroyed by European settlers without the consent of the Turrbal People.
Bora rings were often located in the vicinity of creeks or permanent waterholes, where game and other resources were sufficiently plentiful to support people during ceremonies. The existence of these sites suggests that this area would have been used by the Turrbal People for gathering and corroboree due to the existence of freshwater swamps, floodplains and wetlands in the area.
In Turrbal Country, bora rings were earthen. Earthen bora rings were created by digging soil from within the centre of the circle using sticks and stone artefacts and carrying it to the outside, forming a mounded edge.
Transient camps were also known to occur on the beach at the mouth of Serpentine Creek at Cribb Island and another at the rafting yards at Serpentine Creek. Another transient camp existed at Myrtletown on the edge of Boggy Creek (Tumkaiburr). According to an early missionary at the Zion Hill Missionary in Nundah, the Boggy Creek camp site was occupied by the Bribie Island Aboriginies at Easter time each year.
In the 1820s, the area that is now the Brisbane Airport began to be developed for use by the early settlers. The airport underwent several transformations over the years, from its initial use as farmland and a cattle station in the 1920s and 1930s, a station for female convicts, a popular seaside bathing location, a World War I aerodrome, and its final incarnation as a modern airport.