Have you ever wondered how the Whitsunday region was formed? 2:03pm, Wed 26 Apr 2017And how we came to be the Whitsundays? Stick with me and we will explore the history of the Whitsundays...
In a catastrophic volcanic activity, the now "Whitsunday" islands were formed.
Our now Mountainous region was once connected to the mainland but as the sea level rose and the volcanic eruptions continued the Islands separated and created some of the most gorgeous Inlets and caves to explore.
Indigenous tribes are thought to have roamed the islands for around 8000 years before European settlement. The most historically dominant tribe were known as the Ngaro people "Ngaro meaning: can't see/vanishing people".
A nomadic group whose living areas span across the entire island chain and some of the closer coastline, they were well known as maritime hunters and gathers and as skilled navigators.
The earliest archaeological evidence of the Ngaro people was found on Hook Island where the two inlets protected by steep cliffs would have been welcomed shelter for Ngaro canoes.
Cave openings and nearby mounds/middens or oysters and clam species presently found on the coast suggest the Ngaro people found shelter and food regularly from this camp.
The prehistoric coastal plains known by the Ngaro people would have been near what we now call the Great Barrier Reef.
Oral history dictates that the Ngaro continued to visit the Great Barrier Reef by Bark canoes even after it became a hazardous journey to a remote ocean destination more than 40 miles from their coastal settlements. Travelling in sewn paperbark canoes that sometimes utilised outriggers, they fished for sea turtles and shellfish and even large sea mammals such as a small whale this was only made possible by using their ingenuity by creating a barbed harpoon that enabled them to exhaust their prey without tempting sharks with the smell of blood.
Unfortunately, the Ngaro society was destroyed by warfare with traders, colonists and the Australian Native police. The native police corps forcibly relocated the remaining Ngaro aborigines in 1870 to "mission" on Palm Island and the lumber mills of Brampton Island to be "employed" as labourers, succumbing to guns, germs and the steel of western explorers.
Whilst exploring our gorgeous region don't forget to take a moment and immerse yourself in our rich cultural history by visiting the ancient sites of these beautiful people.
Nara Inlet =- Aboriginal cave paintings and interactive signs.
Whitehaven beach/Hill Inlet = walk and lookout
If you are feeling adventurous follow the Ngaro sea trail and explore the islands as the Ngaro people would have so long ago.
Penned by Zan Schubert