Traditional Owners and Society Flat

Society Flat is an iconic area of the Kirrama Range, and the hub where community links to the landscape through forestry.

The area has been used for a variety of purposes because of its level ground, which opens up to the grand trunks of kauri pines and rose gums. There are many tales of the hardships of daily life here and the, quest for survival in this rugged and challenging area. Now, the plants are the silent onlookers and the animals the ultimate survivors that have persevered throughout the history of use. 

Traditional Owners

The Kirrama Range Road passes through Girramay, Warungu and Jirrbal Rainforest Aboriginal country. This land holds a rich history of spiritual and cultural lore for these Traditional Owners and they ask you to respect this landscape and learn from it as their ancestors once did.

In earlier times the Kirrama region was interlaced with numerous Aboriginal trading routes. Aboriginal people could travel from Yaccabine Creek to Jambun (Murray Falls) via the Bilyana Track (Rugubunu Track in Girramay), exchanging information through message sticks, gathering food and trading goods. Many of these tracks were adapted by the early settlers to navigate through the rugged countryside. For example, one main Aboriginal trading route that crossed Society Flat and went down the Kennedy Valley at Windy Post was used by the Gold Escort from the Etheridge and Gilberton gold fields, the Normanton to Cardwell overland telegraph line and by the Cardwell mailman for deliveries to Kirrama and Cashmere. 

When an important ceremony was to take place, the Rainforest Aboriginal tribes would congregate near Society Flat. The area was used as a brun or bora ground (meeting place), where spiritual customs, including initiations and unions, trade of goods, and disputes would occur. Carved messages between tribes can be seen on the tree trunks within this area. When Europeans settled in the area, they established the Cardwell Native Police. Native policing was a process where Aboriginals from outside the area were used to manage resistance from Traditional Owners who did not want to leave their home lands. This caused the local Aboriginal people to disperse and later live at Kirrama and Gunnawarra stations and down in Murray Valley and Herbert Gorge, where their stories about Europeans were carried on through the use of messages sticks.

English/Indigenous Wildlife Vocabulary

Common Name Traditional Owner Name Scientific Name
Tree kangaroo (Lumholtz's)  Mabi Dendrolagus lumholtzi
Common Brush Turkey Guijari Alectura lathami
Buff Breasted Paradise Kingfisher Gira-gira Tanysiptera sylvia
Gliders Mungarru Petaurus gracilis, P. norfolcensis, P. breviceps, P. australis
(mahogany, squirrel, sugar, yellow-bellied,    
feather tailed)    
Southern Cassowary Gundoi Casuarius casuarius johnsonii
Quoll - spotted and northern Dimin Dasyurus maculatus gracilis, D. hallucatus


Credits: Uncle Claude Beeron, Sean Walsh and the Girringun Aboriginal Corporation

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