This important project has been dedicated to Mrs Annie Randall. A highly respected Yaegl member.
The Lower Clarence Aboriginal Tourist Site Drive project began in 1992 when the communities wanted to inform people about the importance of the Aboriginal Culture within the Lower Clarence.
It lists 13 significant Aboriginal sites around Maclean and down the Clarence River to Yamba and Angourie. The sites include middens, camping locations, meeting places, a fish trap at Angourie, creation and Dreamtime stories, and the Ulugundahi Island mission site.
On the 5th of Dec 2017, original archeologist Uncle Ron Heron with project organiser Deidre Randall unveiled a restored set of signs created in the mid 1990s that tell the story of 13 significant places in Yaegl country.
The Lower Clarence Aboriginal Tourist Site Drive is a self-guided tourist drive to various Aboriginal sites in the area.
The 13 Sites are
1. The Creation of the Clarence Aboriginal People: The Giant Serpent.
The Clarence River has a great meaning and importance to the local Goorie (Aboriginal) people. A number of dreamtime stories are focused on the Big River. This story relates to the creation of the local Goorie People.
2. The Durrangan and the Giant Fig Tree.
This dreamtime story relates to the importance of the Durrangan: a powerful spirit in the beliefs of local Goories. The Durrangan is treated with the highest respect by the local Goorie people.
3. Ulugundahi Island Mission Site.
This island was an Aboriginal mission in the early 1900s. The Aboriginal Protection Board collected Goorie people from the surrounding Clarence Valley area to live here.
4. Reedy Creek Aboriginal Camp Site.
This area was the first Goorie camping area in Yamba outside the Ulugundahi Island Aboriginal Mission in 1935.
5. Story House Camping Area.
Near the Story House Museum in Yamba was located the second camping area. The Goorie people’s lifestyle was gradually changing in the 1940 and 1950s.
6. Barrie Point Midden.
At Barrie Point is located a midden or shellfish rubbish dump. This area was very popular with the local Goorie People with family groups regularly collecting and eating seafoods.
7. The Story of the Giant Eel.
This is another dreamtime story about the Giant Eel which travelled through the Clarence Valley, creating the Clarence River.
8. Angourie Road Camping Site.
In the late 1950s this site was the third camping area for the Goorie People in Yamba.
9. Green Point – Meeting Place.
This area was very special to the Yaegl people. Tribes from other areas came together for ceremonies such as initiations corroborees.
10. Mara Creek Pre-White Contact Aboriginal Campsite.
Mara Creek was also a camping Site, but is different to the others because it was used well before white settlement of the area.
11. Angourie – Fish Trap.
For thousands of years Goorie people used all nature’s resources. Fish traps were common through out Australia, some were man made. This fish trap is a natural rock formation.
12. The Durrangan and the Stone Canoe.
This dreamtime story relates to the Durrangan and the creation of the stone canoe.
13. The Woombah Midden.
This midden is the largest on the East Coast of Australia. Among this midden a dingo’s tooth was found to be the oldest recorded in Australia
This project is the first of its kind in Australia and was funded jointly by NPW (National Parks & Wildlife Service), ANCA (Australian Nature Conservation Agency) and LCAYS (Lower Clarence Aboriginal Youth Service) with assistance from Yaegle and Birringan Gargle LALC (Local Aboriginal Land Council), Nungera Co-operative, Maclean Shore Council, Lower Clarence Skillshare, Big River Tourist Centres and particularly the Lower Clarence Aboriginal Elders Committee Wdjri Myiral.
We are grateful to Kevin Randall for all the drawings and Vickki Randall for designing the Yaegl logo. Special appreciation to Ron Heron archaeologist and Brenda Smith who first researched and commenced this project.
Deidre Randall – Project Co-ordinator.