Dreaming pays off for Gorge pair
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