Farewell ‘Aunty’ Hazel
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