Keeping Aboriginal culture alive

Dancers taking part in the 20-year anniversary of the Wollombi Corroboree in October last year

Ngurra Bu Aboriginal Corporation came about when Paul Gordon, Jocelyn Grant and Ann-Maree Lishman decided it was high time that the Hunter Valley area had an organisation that focused solely on teaching and sharing traditional Aboriginal lore and culture. Founded in November 2009, the key focus of Ngurra Bu* (pronounced ‘nurra ba’) is to educate Indigenous and non-Indigenous people about traditional Aboriginal culture and history.

Set on 40 hectares of lush countryside in the lower Hunter Valley at Wollombi, the property is a traditional Aboriginal site. It is used as a base camp to guide visitors to various lore sites, including rock engravings and cave paintings within the Wollombi and Broke valleys. Ngurra Bu runs a variety of programs designed to educate and inform the groups who come to stay. Visitors can learn about Aboriginal spirituality and culture, bush tucker and bush medicine, with one, two and three night packages available.

Since August last year approximately 1500 people have visited the camp, including about 1000 visitors celebrating the 20th anniversary performance of the Wollombi Corroboree. ‘We believe that true cultural awareness comes from maintaining and sharing a living culture,’ says director Jocelyn Grant, ‘and a camp experience is the best way to share this with others.’

Ngurra Bu’s senior cultural officer, Uncle Paul Gordon, is widely known throughout New South Wales as a traditional lore man and his knowledge is highly respected and sought after. In fact, most people hear about Ngurra Bu’s programs by word of mouth.

‘We are extremely proud that Ngurra Bu operates as a social enterprise without government funding,’ says Jocelyn Grant. ‘Although,’ she adds, ‘additional funding would definitely be useful so we could employ more trainees and share more of our culture!’

If you are interested in experiencing any of Ngurra Bu’s programs call 02 4998 3488.

* Ngurra Bu means ‘little lore camp’ in the Ngemba language. The Ngemba people’s traditional lands are in north-western New South Wales.

Photo: Dancers taking part in the 20-year anniversary of the Wollombi Corroboree in October last year