Strengthening our connection to Country: A tour of Jellurgal

Team members from our Gold Coast and Brisbane studios took a fascinating guided tour of Jellurgal (Burleigh Headland), where countless culturally significant sites have played an important role in the lives of First Nations People.

Now that we have opened a studio in Burleigh Heads, with such a culturally significant site nearby, the team felt compelled to gain a deeper understanding of the area’s indigenous heritage.

Leading the tour was Adrian Jackson from the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre, who shared Dreamtime stories associated with the creation of Jellurgal and explained the significance of various sites on the mountain and further along the coast.



The walking tour began at the rocks and sandy shores of Tallebudgera Creek which Adrian explained were food-gathering places for the Kombumerri people. He told the story of Gowonda – a great hunter with long white hair who trained dogs to hunt food for his people and after his death was believed to have returned as a dolphin with a distinctive white fin that herded fish into nets cast by the Kombumerri men, continuing his legacy as a provider.


The group was then lead along the mountain track, through the protected rainforest, stopping along the way to learn about the expansive middens that date back over four thousand years and elusive sacred birthing sites of which the exact locations are not widely known or shared.

Adrian also demonstrated how strands from the bark of Pandanas palms were stripped and twisted to make string for fishing nets and lines that were used on the shores of the Tallebudgera Creek.

After a steady incline, the team reached the lookout which offers captivating views of the southern coastline and was a place where indigenous elders would gather and watch the happenings below – fishing, shellfish collecting or watching for dolphins, and share stories with younger group members.



The tour was a highly enriching experience for the team and reinforced the importance of exploring the many layers of sites and their stories in order to gain a much deeper understanding and in turn, inform our way of thinking and lead to meaningful design responses.

As a practice, we look forward to building on our relationship with the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre and continuing to draw on their valuable knowledge of the region.