Dream­ing pays off for Gorge pair

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - BUSINESS - by PAUL MIL­TON BUT­LER

IT IS fit­ting that Kuku Yalanji elder Roy Gib­son and the Mur­day fam­ily shared in the Chair­man’s Award for Ex­cel­lence at the Tourism Trop­i­cal North Queens­land awards af­ter shar­ing a dream to cre­ate job op­por­tu­ni­ties and a bright fu­ture for peo­ple at the Moss­man Gorge Abo­rig­i­nal community.

That dream was fi­nally re­alised with the of­fi­cial open­ing of the Moss­man Gorge Cen­tre in Au­gust on land the Mur­day fam­ily pre­vi­ously farmed.

“The Cen­tre is the re­al­i­sa­tion of that dream that was first talked about 20 years ago and we now have 60 of our peo­ple work­ing there with pride and able to look af­ter them­selves and their fam­i­lies - it’s won­der­ful,” Roy said.

Roy had worked for the Mur­day fam­ily on their Moss­man cane farm for many years and had built up a strong re­la­tion­ship with them.

He left to open a busi­ness with the Moss­man Gorge Abo­rig­i­nal Community of­fer­ing Dream­time walks and a small lo­cal gallery.

And wor­ried about the traf­fic con­ges­tion that was of­ten ex­pe­ri­enced at Moss­man Gorge, and the en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns, he came up with the dream of one day cre­at­ing em­ploy­ment through a shut­tle bus op­er­a­tion into the Gorge.

The Mur­day fam­ily wanted to work with Roy to achieve his dream and they ne­go­ti­ated with the Abo­rig­i­nal Land Cor­po­ra­tion for a fair price to re­lease a par­cel of their fam­ily farm for the Moss­man Gorge Cen­tre to be built on.

Don Mur­day said it was ter­rific to see the shared dream of his fa­ther Barry and Roy all those years ago has been re­alised.

“The in­dige­nous peo­ple who work there to­day have grabbed this won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity with both hands and it will be a fur­ther bless­ing for the new gen­er­a­tions to come,” he said.

“And the cul­tural walk Roy takes vis­i­tors on is some­thing peo­ple have to do if they have not al­ready done so.

“The whole com­plex at the cen­tre is a real credit to ev­ery­one in­volved and I’m ex­tremely proud of what ev­ery­one has achieved and it will continue to grow in stature.”

The dream grew to in­clude a $20 mil­lion vi­sion in­cor­po­rat­ing an art gallery, gift shop, cafe and the al­ready es­tab­lished Dream­time walks.

Around 90 per cent of the work­force is in­dige­nous and drawn mostly from the Yalanji area, re­sult­ing in one of Aus­tralia’s most sig­nif­i­cant in­dige­nous busi­nesses.

Roy’s out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion and lead­er­ship is also recog­nised in his of­fi­cial ti­tle at the Moss­man Gorge Cen­tre where he is af­fec­tion­ately called “Maja”, the Yalanji word for boss.

HIGH­EST HON­OUR: Roy Gib­son and (in

set) Don Mur­day

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