The Jirrbal people are descendants of a true rainforest Aboriginal culture. Thanks to their preservation efforts, the trade routes used in traditional hunting and gathering techniques can still be seen today. Yet livelihood opportunities for community members and youth in the area are few, and many are choosing to leave Tully to find alternative employment in other areas of Australia. As a result, the traditions, culture and stories of the Jirrbal people are being lost.
Ingan Tours, an Aboriginal-owned tour operator, acquired a 10-year lease on the local train station. It was their dream to transform that space into a cultural centre, café and museum to celebrate and preserve their family’s history. With the help of a $20,000 catalyst grant from Planeterra, the family was able to secure a grant from the Indigenous Land Council and convert the old Tully railway station into the centre it is today. The café offers lunches and workshops in Aboriginal arts to G Adventures travellers. This new Jirrbal cultural centre works to preserve culture and promote traditions amongst the community’s youth while providing new opportunities in employment.
Café Chloe celebrates culture and provides meaningful jobs to Aboriginal and under-employed community members in Tully. It is the dream of our partners at Ingan Tours to develop a training program for youth at the local high school to come and learn skills in hospitality and food preparation, as well as the opportunity to learn more about the Jirrbal culture. With the tourism industry booming in Queensland, this will help to prepare these students for employment, better understand their culture, and build self-confidence. Eventually, the proceeds from the goods and services sold at the café will build a small museum located in the restaurant that will display cultural artifacts that have been passed on for generations, and will share their history with the public for years to come.