The multi staged restoration project has been ongoing since 2014, with the official opening proposed for early September 2015.
Funding provided by the Wet Tropics Small Grants Program supported the implementation of interpretative signage to guide visitors on their journey through the rainforest boardwalk.
The walk and signage provide a fascinating insight into the cultural significance of Yarrabah’s fauna and flora and history of the area.
Once complete, the boardwalk will meander through a vast variety of native plants and bush tucker including fan palm forests, native nutmeg, quandong trees, native cashews and cassowary plums.
Along with the boardwalk, the venue includes an Indigenous museum, art centre, traditional dance ground, and kitchen facilities - providing guests with a number of authentic Indigenous experiences close to Cairns.
The Yarrabah community will still need to seek further funding for stage two for the completion of the right wing.
With only 13 recorded sites of living carved trees in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, and with most of them contained in Mamu country, these trees are rare and incredibly sacred to the Mamu people.
Notorious cyclones that batter the Wet Tropics coastline, along with other natural causes put the trees under threat.
The project was led by Mamu Traditional Owners Steve Purcell and Alf Joyce. Respected anthropologist Alice Buhrich was on hand to give technical advice and support to the group.
The project saw the group traverse the thick scrub of Dugulbarra Estate near Maple Creek, South Johnstone, in search of carved trees or ‘Dendroglyphs’ so that the appropriate management strategies could be developed.
The trees feature distinct and deliberate markings on particular food source trees. Although the markings are sometimes hard to decipher, Mr Purcell best describes the markings as a family or tribe’s signature, meaning that the family group could gather from that particular tree.
One of the outcomes of this project was the formal GPS recording of the tree locations, along with photographs and measurements to preserve this cultural knowledge.
Ongoing conservation and preservation of the trees by Steve Purcell and Mamu Traditional Owners will ensure that this important piece of heritage remains for future Mamu generations.
The Mullen Bun Goon organisation received the grant and administered the funds to support the project.