Farewell ‘Aunty’ Hazel

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

THE Dou­glas re­gion is in mourn­ing fol­low­ing the death of in­spi­ra­tional Abo­rig­i­nal elder Hazel Dou­glas, aged 62.

Ms Dou­glas, who died at Moss­man hospi­tal on Tues­day af­ter a long fight against can­cer, was a proud Eastern Kuku Yalanji woman who be­longed to the Gugu speak­ing peo­ples of Far North Queens­land.

She was born at Dain­tree and grew up in a tribal life­style learn­ing tra­di­tional val­ues and cul­ture from her par­ents and grand­par­ents.

Ms Dou­glas was also an im­por­tant par­tic­i­pant dur­ing for­mer prime min­is­ter Kevin Rudd’s 20/20 sum­mit along­side 1000 of Aus­tralia’s best and bright­est.

She fought for na­tive ti­tle rights of the Eastern Kuku Yalanji for years, re­sult­ing in the sign­ing of Queens­land’s most sig­nif­i­cant na­tive ti­tle agree­ment.

Hazel was also a foun­da­tion mem­ber of the Dou­glas Ad­vi­sory Board and a mem­ber of the Elders Jus­tice Net­work which men­tored in­dige­nous youths who found them­selves in trou­ble with the law.

Her tribal land ex­tends from Moss­man to Lizard Is­land in the north and Laura to the west.

Ms Dou­glas was also a pi­o­neer in tourism and es­tab­lished Na­tive Guide Sa­fari Tours which op­er­ated tours from Port Dou­glas to Cape Tribu­la­tion.

The tours gave vis­i­tors an authen­tic in­tro­duc­tion to Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture and ecol­ogy through the eyes of one of the orig­i­nal in­hab­i­tants of the Dain­tree.

A typ­i­cal day trip took peo­ple through the World Her­itage Listed rain­for­est from Port Dou­glas to Moss­man Gorge and across the Dain­tree River to the Greater Dain­tree and Cape Tribu­la­tion, vis­it­ing and in­ter­pret­ing ar­eas along the way.

Dur­ing the bus trip peo­ple would mar­vel at the beau­ti­ful rain­forests, spec­tac­u­lar gorges and in­cred­i­ble coastal scenery, and Ms Dou­glas was a wealth of knowl­edge who de­lighted in pass­ing on all that knowl­edge about the flora and fauna of the area that was passed on to her from her elders.

Ms Dou­glas was also a great ad­vo­cate for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion long be­fore the word had even found its way into the main­stream lex­i­con.

She was a pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cate for the Dou­glas re­gion and be­yond and had a great love of coun­try and all the peo­ple who in­hab­ited it - black and white.

Huge loss: ‘Aunty’ Hazel Dou­glas

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