It’s likely you’ve taken the coastal walk around Burleigh Heads before, but do you know about the cultural significance this place has to local Indigenous people? Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre is the Gold Coast’s only dedicated Aboriginal cultural centre located at the foot of Burleigh Headland, and is fully owned and operated by the local Aboriginal community. Jellurgal is an initiative of Gold Coast-based Kalwun Development Corporation whose number one priority is sharing of their connection to culture with others.
During the school holidays, Jellurgal run daily programs for children (ideally aged 5-12 years) called Little Explorers (parents are to remain for this program, this is not a drop and go program). These sessions run for around 1.5hrs, during which time they will explore the magic of the “Dreaming Mountain”, Jellurgal (Burleigh Headland) through an art workshop and guided walk. Children will learn about the methods of Aboriginal painting and the symbols and their meanings and create their own masterpiece to take home.
Following the art workshop, the group are taken on a short guided walk from Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre through the gates of Burleigh Head National Park and along the shores Tallebudgera Creek, where numerous significant sites and environmental features have played an important part in the lives of the Yugambeh speaking people for thousands of years. They will learn about the Aboriginal history and culture of the Gold Coast and hear fascinating Dreaming stories associated with Jellurgal (Burleigh Headland).
We visited during the Summer holidays with children aged 5.5 and 2.5yrs. While it is aimed at children over the age of 5, younger children are able to attend, however they may not have the attention span needed for the full 1.5hrs. The session started with a lesson on the symbols used in traditional painting, including a game for everyone to play, before moving on to painting their own boomerang (which they are able to take home). Once the art workshop is complete, the kids are given a little booklet which they hold on to during the walk and try to tick off all the things they see. The guided walk ventures a few hundred metres down Burleigh Headland, which is just enough for little legs (see Jellurgal’s Walkabout Tour if you want to do a guided walk the whole way around).
During the guided walk you’ll stop at 3 spots to learn about their cultural significance, as well as hear some amazing dreamtime creation stories about the headland and the creek. The entire time, the kids were engaged, asking questions and listening closely. Our guide was really good at explaining things in a relatable way for the younger ones. Even as an adult, I learned so much about the headland that I never knew before, and was shown things that I have walked straight past without noticing previously. My kids have already asked when we could do it again they enjoyed it so much!
Need to know
- Location: Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Burleigh Heads
- Services offered: Little Explorers tours are offered during the school holidays. Walkabout Tours are offered year round.
- Facilities: the Jellurgal building has coffee and icecream facilities, as well as an art gallery and gift shop. Public toilets are located outside. Parking is available out the front.