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HISTORY OF THE MANDINGALBAY YIDINJI PEOPLE

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Mandingalbay Yidinji country lies just to the east of Cairns across Trinity Inlet. Mandingalbay Yidinji country includes East Trinity Environmental Reserve, the Murray Prior Range, the western slopes of the Nisbet Range and across the Malbon Thompson Range into the Coral sea, including a family of the Franklin Islands.

The Mandingalbay Yidinji People (MY People) are the direct descendants of Jubalum, the Aboriginal people that continue to govern, manage, occupy, care for and sustainably interact with country which has been undertaken through cultural and customary lore for many thousands of years. Sharing knowledge of our traditional lands and waters with guests entrusts a future for today and future generations.

At the turn of the early 20th century, many of the MY People where moved to a mission known as ‘Yarrabah’. While our culture and way of life has evolved over the last 100 years,

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our identity as MY People remains intact, our inherited cultural rights and responsibilities to country has not diminished.

MY People, like other coastal Aboriginal groups in the Cairns region, developed a wide range of technologies from local material – for hunting, conflict, making substantial shelters, baskets, fish traps and tools. Single outrigger canoes were used extensively for fishing, hunting and travelling well into the 20th century.

During the past 50 years, much of Mandingalbay Yidinji country was divided into government protected areas, including Grey Peaks National Park, East Trinity Environmental Reserve, Malbon Thompson Forest Reserve, Giangurra Reserve, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (Commonwealth and State), Trinity Inlet Fish Habitat Area and Mandingalbay Yidinji Indigenous Protected Area (IPA).

Traditional story-telling of custom and lore, and historical evidence confirms the MY People are resilient, progressive and innovative in their endeavours.

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MOVING FORWARD

On the 24th of April 2006, the Federal Court of Australia made a determination recognising the native title rights of the Mandingalbay Yidinji People in sections of the Grey Peaks National Park, Malbon Thompson Forest Reserve, Giangurra Reserve and in some lots adjacent to the Trinity Inlet and Red Bank Creek near Cairns, Far North Queensland. The Mandingalbay Yidinji Aboriginal Corporation is intrusted with native title rights and interests over their lands and waters on behalf of the Mandingalbay Yidinji Peoples. For further information about the Mandingalbay Yidinji native title determination visit the National Native Title Tribunal.

In 2011, MYAC established a dedicated Indigenous Protected Areas in accordance with the IUCN over its native title determined lands. The same year, MYAC was awarded a Working on Country contract with the Commonwealth Government to undertake environmental and cultural management of the Mandingalbay Yidinji traditional country, that is implemented by its agent company Djunbunji Ltd.

In 2014/2015, MYAC secured Deductable Gift Recipient status with the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission and the Australian Taxation Office, and Cultural Heritage Body Status with the Department of the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and covers the full extent of the MY Peoples native title lands.

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By 2015, in collaboration with its agent company Djunbunji Ltd MYAC commenced commercial operations through its tourism enterprise complimented by a Commercial Activity Agreement and Trust Permit over the Grey Peaks National Park and East Trinity Reserve, including its operations in the World Heritage Area, adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. In 2016, MYAC secured Eco Tourism Certification and Respecting Our Culture Certification.

Through integrating science and culture, the MY People have developed a business framework that generates a sustainable socio-economic return for the future of MY Country, People and Culture.

In 2018, MYAC advanced the Mandingalbay Yidinji Eco Cultural Tourism Infrastructure Project (MYECT Project) to a prospectus stage following the lodgement of the Development Application with the Cairns Regional Council in September 2017.

Situated in the eco-sensitive wetlands of East Trinity Reserve, east of Cairns CBD, the MYECT Project is a new world class eco infrastructure indigenous tourism facility that will bask in local, national and international tourism and generate small business in the Far North Queensland region.

The MY People have been a part of the land for many thousands of years and we are eager to share our Country with others. The MY People’s aim is to ensure that the project is a showcase of indigenous history, environment and cultural values that will be renown across the world.

For further information about the MY Eco Cultural Tourism Infrastructure Project click here.

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Country, People & Culture

The Djunbunji Land and Sea Program was established in collaboration with the MY People to actively engage in the management of country for the Mandingalbay Yidinji people. Djunbunji Land and Sea Program is 100% owned and operated by MYACs agent company, Djunbunji Ltd and employs MY people to provide a sustainable ranger service on Mandingalbay Yidinji country. Click here to visit the Djunbunji Ltd website.

Our land is an important part of our identity and culture and we are looking after it, so it can remain resource rich and in a natural state of beauty. We remain obligated to our responsibilities to manage these lands and are restoring and protecting the environment and Mandingalbay Yidinji cultural values to educate our people and the wider community on the socio-economic importance of management for our land for now and the future. We take pride in our land and have a deep connection to country and for this reason we want to continue managing it in our own unique way. This means using traditional practices to rejuvenate and nourish the land so that our children and their descendants can appreciate its cultural meaning and natural beauty

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Sharing our pristine natural environment, culture, knowledge and practices with like-minded people from near and far is also important. The way we intend to operate tourism is respectful to, and sustainable for, the land. It helps us to create new skills and allows many of the mob to work on-country. Tourism increases our capacity to earn, learn and become self-sufficient. It provides a solid financial base to support and care for our mob. This will continue long into the future.

Our land and culture will continue to thrive through our traditional land management and cultural practices. Our legacy is strong and lasting.

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Mandingalbay Yidinji Eco Cultural Tourism Enterprise (MYECT)

Mandingalbay Ancient Indigenous Tours (MAIT) is 100% owned and operated by Mandingalbay Yidinji Aboriginal Corporation and its agent company Djunbunji Ltd.

The MAIT is so much more than a story of challenges, constraints and achievements, it’s about discovery. The MAIT showcases the innovation of the Mandingalbay Yidinji people, culture and country and, in particular, the cultural and environmental activities that deliver an eco-cultural tourism experience.

Rangers have transformed biodiversity surveys into bird watching tours and the identification of endangered and critically endangered flora and fauna into guided interpretative walks, showcasing traditional use of natural resources used for medicinal purposes and sustenance.

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The MAIT begins at the Cairns Reef Terminal and glides across Trinity Inlet, dotted by yachts, and up Hills Creek to where the salty water of the sea meets freshwater flowing off the surrounding mountains.

The rainforest-clad mountains of Mandingalbay Yidinji lands is a bush supermarket and pharmacy abundant of food and medicinal plants used for sustenance and healing, which include edible flowers, sweet fruit and native herbs. The air is alive with a chorus of birds all year round, and in the winter months, a cloud of butterfly’s filter the air with their wings as your guide takes you on a short trek at the base of Grey Peaks National Park. Click here to book your tour today.

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