Inland Rail donation puts Gummingurru artefacts in the spotlight

A sponsorship under Round 4 of the Inland Rail Community Sponsorships and Donations program is putting a range of Indigenous artefacts under a new spotlight.

July 11, 2020

The whole program Sponsorship Media release
Artifact display at the Gummingurru Aboriginal Corporation

The $4000 sponsorship to the Gummingurru Aboriginal Corporation (GAC) enabled a museum grade display cabinet to be purchased allowing artefacts to be kept safely behind glass while being illuminated.

Gummingurru Aboriginal Corporation spokesperson Shannon Bauwens said traditional owners were sorting through hundreds of artefacts before deciding which would appear in the new display cabinet.

“We consulted with experienced curators about where they had sourced their display cabinets and they gave us a contact to have a specialised Museum-grade case with internal lighting made for our artefacts,” Mr Bauwens said.

“We are now seeking additional investment to build Gummingurru into a world class cultural experience,” he said. “We want to display the best examples of indigenous culture we have so it has also given us a renewed focus on cataloguing the artefacts. We have hundreds to sort through before we will make a final decision on what will go on display.”

For thousands of years large gatherings were held to coincide with harvesting of the Bunya nuts in the nearby mountains and young men were initiated into manhood at ceremonial places such as Gummingurru before participating in ‘men’s business’ at these festivals.

The site, which features a number of stone arrangements including a Bora ring, is now preserved and protected by the Gummingurru Aboriginal Corporation.

“Grants like this one from Inland Rail will help us to continue to ‘resurrect’ and protect the site. As custodians we want all Australians interested in learning about Aboriginal culture and heritage to be able to visit the site,” Mr Bauwens said.

“People can now visit the site and take a journey through the stone arrangements with a traditional custodian, look at the artefacts on display and participate in story-telling that teaches you about the site.

“We hope that non-Indigenous people visiting the site and talking to us about our culture is part of the reconciliation process of our country. It shows how sharing and promoting our culture can lead to better appreciation and understanding.

“We owe a lot to Ben Gilbert (the farmer who previously owned the property) who learnt the stories of the site, it’s significance and the interpretations of the stone arrangements from local Western Wakka Wakka/Jarowoir man Bunda ‘Harry’ Darlo.

“Ben Gilbert protected the site and made sure it was recorded by the Queensland Museum so it would not be lost and was subsequently bestowed with the tribal name of “Banda” (protector) by Bunda “Harry” Darlo.”

Inland Rial employee

More than $300,000 in sponsorships has been awarded by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to schools, volunteer groups and associations across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, as part of Inland Rail’s commitment to communities where Australia’s largest freight project is being built and operated.

ARTC Inland Rail Director Engagement Environment and Property Rebecca Pickering said the Community Sponsorships and Donations program is a key commitment to ensure regional communities’ benefit from this unique project.

“With Inland Rail already delivering jobs confidence and local business uplift in communities along the rail corridor, the Sponsorships and Donations program aims to help the heart of our regional communities tick by supporting volunteers, sporting groups and students alike,” Mrs Pickering said.

“Applications are now being invited for the next round of the program, closing on Friday, July 31 to eligible community groups for projects and activities which contribute to local and regional prosperity, well-being and sustainability.”

For terms and conditions and to access an application form, please visit the Inland Rail website, or email enquiries to

Photographs included with release:

Caption: Lee Faulkner places a grinding stone into the new display cabinet at Gummingurru near Gowrie Junction. Hundreds of artefacts will need to be sorted through before the final display items are determined.

Caption: Matthew Washington and Michael Lucas in front of the new display case. The next round of applications for Inland Rail Community Sponsorships and Donations program closes on July 31, 2020.

Media contact: Chris Leslight | Mobile 0427 691 262

July 11, 2020

The whole program Sponsorship Media release


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