Muttonbird Island now a resource

GIIDANY Miirlarl is a name Coffs Coast residents will widely come to know now that a new outdoor interpretive art and education space has been opened at the base of Muttonbird Island.

Taking on the local Gumbaynggirr name given to the area, the project has seen a significant tourist attraction established at the base of the island. National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) ranger Ann Walton said the facility showcases the island and its significance to the local Gumbaynggirr people.

“The new area will also provide an open space for discovery tours, school tours and live performances,” Ms Walton said.

Renowned Aboriginal language teacher Michael Jarrett of the Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Cultural Co-operative Centre at Nambucca Heads has explained the significance of the site to local Aboriginal people.

“Giidnay Miirlarl, at the base of Muttonbird Island, translates to mean the moon place, and refers to the reef that is seen near the island,” Mr Jarrett said. “It was a special site used for hunting expeditions where muttonbirds were gathered as a food source.”

The new facility is located at the base of Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve on the end of the northern break wall of Coffs Harbour Jetty and is now available to the public.

At an official opening on Thursday night, local elders unveiled the facility.

The $320,000 project has been funded by the Commonwealth Government through the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations’ Jobs Fund program.

The funding was awarded to the Arts Mid North Coast in partnership with the Coffs Harbour City Council, the Department of Environment Climate Change and Water through the Coffs Coast Area, Garlambirla Guyuu Girrwaa (Coffs Harbour Elders) and the Coffs Harbour Local Aboriginal Land Council.

 Coffs Coast Advocate | 4th April 2011