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Aboriginal significance of the Pandanus tree celebrated

Front L to R: Kerry Jones, Ray Kerkhove, Joel Fostin; Back L to R: Torrie Currie & Rodney Jones at Point Arkwright during NAIDOC Week
Front L to R: Kerry Jones, Ray Kerkhove, Joel Fostin; Back L to R: Torrie Currie & Rodney Jones at Point Arkwright during NAIDOC Week

Kabi Kabi Traditional Owner, Kerry Jones and family, together with researcher, Ray Kerkhove and members of Coolum and North Shore Coast Care, recently celebrated NAIDOC Week at Point Arkwright Headland and Park.

The event saw the launch of the Pandanus history booklet, made possible by Unitywater's community sponsorship program of the Pandanus Dieback Recovery Kickstart Project.

Historian, Dr Ray Kerkhove, in collaboration with Traditional Owners, Joel Fostin (Pandanus dieback consultant), and Genevieve Jones of Coast Care, undertook research through the archives, for the first recorded observations of the significance and uses by Aboriginal People, of Pandanus tectorius found along the southern Queensland coastline.

Historically known as the 'breadfruit' or 'Screw pine', Dr Ray has been able to describe the extensive usefulness of the Pandanus (going back to the 1800's), including food and beverage making from the fruit and nuts, while the fibre from the leaves can be woven into macramé, basketry and ornaments.

The dense, leafy canopy, in a healthy grove of Pandanus, naturally provides shade and rain resistant shelter for us humans and other critters.

With Mount Coolum and Mudjimba Island in the background, serendipity saw whales, dolphins, sooty oystercatchers and osprey, pass the morning's gathering. Resources are now being sought through community group proposals to continue Pandanus dieback monitoring and mitigation works (in the months to come) for the coastal areas between Noosa National Park and Bribie Island.

Free access to and sharing of the Pandanus history booklet is available through www.coolumcoastcare.org.au


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