Benefits Of Cassowary Coast Regional Council For Indigenous People

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Question :

Community Development in action:

Read the Case Study ‘Jumbun Cultural Engagement’ (see below) and discuss the following:

A. Introduction/Background:

  1. Where (geographic location) the program was initiated,
  2. The rationale for the program; why was the program initiated?
  3. Who the key stakeholders were (who was involved)? Who initiated the program? Who was consulted?

B. Discussion and Analysis: How does the case study reflect or incorporate the principles of OORA200/400?

  1. An Aboriginal Worldview and knowledge systems
  2. Aboriginal concepts of wellbeing
  3. The social determinants of Indigenous health, including the trauma of the Stolen Generation
  4. The inequities that have resulted from Australia’s history, including the dominance of non-Indigenous social, economic and political constructs.
  5. Aboriginal Community Development Principles
  6. Cultural safety and competence
  7. Effective cross-cultural communication

C. Conclusion:

  1. How and why was this program successful?
  2. How could you relate the principles learnt to your own future working practice?



For each of the seven topic areas listed under B. “Discussion and Analysis”, you need to:

  1. Discuss and analyse the principle ideas; and
  2. Show how they relate to and were incorporated in the ‘Jumbun Cultural Engagement Project’.

 Case Study: Jumbun Cultural Engagement

It is well documented in literature that passing on and celebrating culture improves the social well-being and health of Aboriginal people. Connecting with the environment and maintaining and sustaining cultural skills are all significant factors that impact on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people. 


The Jumbun community is located at Murray Upper, 40 kilometres south-west of Tully, and has a population of between 160 and 200 people, who are often referred to as the ‘Rainforest people.’ The word ‘Jumbun’ means ‘wood grub.’

The purchase of several sugar cane farms in the Murray Upper area in the 1970s allowed Indigenous people to return to the region and establish the community of Jumbun on their traditional lands. Many of the Indigenous people had previously been removed from the area to live on Christian missions or to work on farms or plantations.

Since their return, Jumbun community members have been involved in farming and in providing guided walks in the rainforests. These tours, along with demonstrations of basket weaving and bush food, educate visitors about the flora and fauna in this dense rainforest area of the Atherton Tableland, as well as the unique cultural heritage of the Indigenous people of Murray Upper.

The Project:

By bringing together Jumbun elders, children and parents, Cassowary Coast Regional Council has helped the people of Murray Upper record and document their cultural craft and knowledge in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Yasi.

The ‘Jumbun Cultural Engagement’ project came into being as community members identified a need for and expressed an interest in recording and documenting their cultural craft and knowledge. Cassowary Coast Regional Council Community Development Officer, Gordon Homer, supported the community to bring this project to fruition.

This project began to gain shape and momentum after a six-day cultural retreat organised by Council in partnership with the local elders and rangers. During the retreat, strong working relationships were formed, and the desire to share traditional knowledge with the young people was discussed.

The Jumbun Cultural Weekend was held at Murray Falls on 3 and 4 October 2012 for 30 children and six elders. Many parents also attended.

Activities included:

  • camera skills
  • traditional body painting and scarring through traditional law
  • fire, Miji and boomerang-making
  • eel and damper cooking
  • weaving and painting
  • traditional medicine
  • storytelling
  • bush collection.

Project Benefits:

The project has delivered a range of benefits, including:

  • recording and documenting cultural knowledge
  • passing on inter-generational cultural knowledge
  • identifying food access and security
  • building resilience and empowerment
  • increased participation in the community
  • stronger sense of social inclusion
  • increased communication among people
  • members of the community writing grant winning applications
  • the community taking on new challenges and acting on priorities.

The value of the project:

Mr Homer said the great value in the project was in bringing people together to break down cultural and historical differences through greater understanding and connection.

“It is a slow building process. People’s voices are strong individually, however imagine the power if the community can have a unified voice,” he said.

Auntie Ronda, another local elder involved, said the project was fantastic. “The kids attended and bonded; they had a wonderful time. It even provided me with the opportunity to refresh my memory and also learn new things from other elders. The project was about teaching our children and grandchildren the knowledge our parents passed onto us. We want them to grow up with a sense of pride. I taught the kids all about painting, how to build a Mija – which is a traditional hut – and how to light a fire by rubbing the sticks.”

Adapted from: Local Government Association Queensland. (2012). Community Development and Engagement Initiative Case Studies, Queensland Government, QLD. Retrieved from

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Answer :



Cultural engagement is an important aspect for improving the social well being and health for communities which are regarded as backward in the society. There are many communities in the world who are socially backward and have not progressed much as the people of this modern world. Aboriginal or indigenous people of Australia are such an example.  They mostly had been neglected and therefore, their progression has been slower compared to other people of Australia (Arthur, 2018). Aboriginal people of the country mainly suffered due to poverty, lack of employment and education, poor health and so on. Their culture has been different from other communities in the country. However, in recent years, the Government of Australia has taken significant steps to improve their conditions and one such step is the he program on the Jumbun cultural engagement (Prout, 2018). The program was initiated in Murray Falls on October 2012 and was intended to engage the elders, parents and their children to record and document their cultural craft and knowledge. 

The main purpose of this project was to engage the young indigenous people to learn their traditional knowledge on cultures by participating in some activities. The main rationale of this project was to pass the inter-generational cultural knowledge and to increase communication among the indigenous and non-indigenous people of Australia. This project was started to enhance the societal position of the indigenous people in the country. This project was Cassowary Coast Regional Council Community Development Officer, Gordon Homer. The key stakeholders included the Council, local elders and rangers. These people worked together to initiate this program. 30 children and six elders participated in this program and this also included the parents of these children. 

This study will be thus based on the program and about how this program was beneficial for the indigenous people and on cultural engagement.


An Aboriginal Worldview and knowledge systems:

Aboriginal people have been staying in Australia for the past 45000-50000 years and known to have roots from Southeast Asia (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2018). They mainly followed their traditional culture and did not made them part of the progressing world. That was the reason they were regarded backward class people and thus deprived of all the modern facilities. They were also deprived of education, employment and other healthcare facilities. Many people died due to deadly diseases and for lack of proper treatment. Despite of the fact that Australia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, these people were never the part of this growth. They were neglected of providing the basic facilities which the common people of Australia received from the Government. However, with the modernization, many NGOs and not for profit organizations came for their help and ensured that they can have an improved lifestyle and receive all the facilities that non-indigenous people of the country receive (Lindeman et al., 2017).  Even the Government of Australia has also taken some serious steps on improving their conditions. These changes have resulted in their social wellbeing and have improved their conditions significantly. Serious steps have also been taken on improving their health conditions and to provide all the basic facilities of healthcare (Reifels et al., 2015). With these initiatives, many aboriginal people of the country are now employed in reputed companies and are also receiving all the modern facilities of the society (Howlett, Grey & Hunter, 2018). However, there are lot to be changed and some serious initiatives can result in their equality in the society. 

Therefore, the initiative taken by Cassowary Coast Regional Council is a significant step for improving their conditions in the society. Moreover, despite of their modernization, children and young people of this community need to learn about the traditional culture and keep their cultural knowledge enact. This project helped in ensuring that the cultural histories of aboriginal people are not lost and the young generation have all the basic knowledge about their cultural history. The activities that were the part of this project have helped the participants to regain their cultural knowledge and are not lost with the progress or modernization of the society. 

Aboriginal concepts of wellbeing:

For most of the aboriginal people of Australia, spirituality is the key part of wellbeing. They are proud of their culture and are being proud of being aboriginal people. These people have always given priority to practise their traditional cultures and also want to pass this knowledge to new generations as well. Despite being the part of modernizations, they like to follow their cultural values. This makes the program a strong and useful initiative to enrich the younger generation with the cultural values of their elders. The activities mainly focused on the practices that were part of the indigenous culture and are require to be known to the younger generation as well.  The cooperation from elder people also ensured that they gain a strong bonding and knowledge about the tradition of their culture more successfully. 

For these people, knowing about the history and traditions about their family are the parts of wellbeing and moreover, they also give priority on exercising all the rights of being aboriginal people. Therefore, the elders of their society want these flow of traditional knowledge to the younger generations as well. The project of Cassowary Coast Regional Council thus was successfully accepted by the elders of the aboriginal people and also ensured that it meet with the expected success (Local Government Association Queensland, 2012). 

The social determinants of Indigenous health, including the trauma of the Stolen Generation:

Enhancing the wellbeing progress of Aboriginal peoples of Australia has been a challenging test for the Governments of Australia. The hole in wellbeing status among the Aboriginal and non-aboriginal people of Australia remains inadmissibly wide and this has been distinguished as a concern of human rights by the United Nations committees and recognized all things considered by Australian governments. 

Social determinants hypothesis perceives that populace wellbeing and imbalance is dictated by many important social factors. Similarly, this is a fundamental principle of the law of human rights that all the rights are being interconnected and further that affecting on the happiness regarding one right can affect on the satisfaction in others. In light of this cooperative energy, human rights talk gives a system to examining the potential wellbeing effects of government arrangements and projects on the Indigenous peoples. 

Vital determinants of the Indigenous wellbeing disparity in Australia incorporate the absence of equivalent access to essential medicinal services and the low standard of wellbeing framework in Indigenous people group (sound lodging, nourishment, sanitation and so forth) contrasted with different Australians (Mitrou et al 2014).. 

Indigenous wellbeing arrangement in Australia is presented in the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2003-2013. Further, one of these controlling standards of the framework is that Governments receive an all encompassing methodology: perceiving that the change of Indigenous wellbeing status must incorporate regard for physical, otherworldly, social, passionate and social prosperity, network limit and governance.

This project was thus intended to give priority to their wellbeing and for decreasing the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous people in the country. 

The inequities that have resulted from Australia’s history, including the dominance of non-Indigenous social, economic and political constructs:

Australian open states of mind towards Aboriginal individuals and problems have been differently solicited since at any rate the last years of 60s with the scope of information accumulations and results abridged in recent researches. The Australian Election Studies, for example, have solicited a short arrangement from attitudinal inquiries on Aboriginal points in each gathering from the years of 1980s. Accumulation of information on states of mind towards Aboriginal individuals, be that as it may, has remained moderately sporadic and constrained and their examination has by and large been gone for tending to more extensive social and open issues. For instance, political theory investigations of the purposes behind the ascent of Pauline Hanson and the One Nation in the middle of 90s discovered that hidden dispositions towards Indigenous people were a concern (Mols & Jetten, 2016). The mental set of ideas of the race-related dispositions have likewise highlighted in explore. For instance, a little scale think about by Beam (1981) discovered pessimistic states of mind towards Aboriginal individuals and culture related with conservatism. All the more as of late, WA ponders discover low compassionate concern corresponded with negative states of mind towards Aboriginal individuals. Existing examination has additionally discovered that financial and statistic factors have a tendency to be connected with attitudinal bearing. For instance, an ongoing review think about on prejudice found a constancy of narrow mindedness towards the Asian, Indigenous individuals. Those with more elevated amounts of narrow minded states of mind will probably be male, more established and the non-tertiary instructed. A detailed investigation of Australian race ponders information on respondents' concurrence with the announcement The Government help made for Indigenous has reached too far and additionally discovered more established, male, less taught respondents were measurably more inclined to concur with the announcement. This examination, in any case, likewise found that open states of mind on the point both changed and remained reliable. The time of higher understanding, 1996– 98, harmonizes along the political impact of Pauline Hanson's One Nation party. Further, this connection recommends states of mind can be influenced by prevailing open talks, yet additionally have a tendency to mirror a basic populace standard.

Even the political parties at earlier time fully neglected the wellbeing of the aboriginal people which raised many concerns about their sustainability in the society (Taylor, 2018). They were economically backward than most of the non-indigenous people of Australia.

These issues were mitigated with the modernization of the country. As the country progressed, the Government also became supportive for the social development of these people. Therefore, the project of Cassowary Coast Regional Council has focused on improving the wellbeing of these people along within giving importance to their cultural engagement. Young people of the community should learn about their cultural background and this can also help in their progress in the society.

Aboriginal Community Development Principles:

In the recent years, help and support have been poured from various countries in the world for developing the social presence of the aboriginal people. Many not-for-profit organizations in Australia have come up with their help and raised the concerns about their worst conditions to the Government. Even the United Nations also has provided active support on developing the conditions of the aboriginal people (Paradies, 2016). Focus has been given on improving their health conditions, for educating them and to provide them employment which can enhance their wellbeing. These initiatives have significantly contributed to their social growth. They are now given employment in all the reputed companies of Australia and vision has also been set on educating the children so that their future gets bright and they are able to cope up with the modernization and economic growth of the country (Altman, 2018). However, in many sections of the modern facilities, these people are still being ignored by common people considerably. Therefore, this project has been a strong initiative to mitigate the cultural differences and to establish the social wellbeing of the aboriginal people in the society. The mission of this project is on building unity among the people of the aboriginal community. This project has given importance to the involvement of the young people of the aboriginal community so that they can learn about the issues that are still persisting for them in the society and so that these young people can unite themselves on the mission of developing their own culture and wellbeing.

 The community taking on new challenges and acting on priorities:

The challenge for the aboriginal community is to enhance their social presence and wellbeing and to get equal opportunities in the society. As discussed earlier, although there have been a social development for these people, however; they are still being ignored by a large part of the society. Therefore, their progress is still on the lower side which is required to be mitigated as soon as possible. For this, these people need to understand their cultural importance and unite with each other to raise concerns about their development (Wright, 2018). The priority should be given on understanding the requirements of social and cultural wellbeing. That is these people will have to identify all the key aspects that can provide them in building a strong presence in the country. For example, they should raise their concerns on enhancing the opportunities of employment and education for all. There should not be any limited opportunities for them in the employment and they should be treated equally at their respective workplace. These initiatives will have to be taken at priority and this project is based on these requirements to be followed effectively. For the young people of aboriginal community along with modern education, knowledge about their culture is also equally important (Johnson et al., 216). This is because this knowledge will help them to understand the backwardness of their community and also this will in turn help them to develop themselves to match with the modern living standards. This knowledge transfer is extremely important for developing the future of this community as well. 

Thus the project of Cassowary Coast Regional Council is a significant step to boost this knowledge transfer and to document the cultural craft in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Yasi. This project will enhance their knowledge on coping up with natural disasters and other health related issues. 


This program was successful as this involved the active participation of those people of the aboriginal culture who have faced experiences of backwardness and cultural differences in the society. Further, the knowledge transfer to the children also motivated them to take part in the program as they could understand this initiative can be extremely fruitful and help them develop the community further through the participation of these young people. Moreover, this program was a unique one and focused on the cultural aspect of the aboriginal people. Due to the fact that these people have huge respect for their culture, therefore; this program made them practise their cultural significantly. 

Principles learnt from this program could contribute significantly towards my knowledge development on aboriginal people. Lessons learn from this initiative will further help them to conduct complicated researches based on the history and cultures of the aboriginal people.   This knowledge gained by the study through this program will significantly contribute on my planning on initiating more development program for the indigenous people and for their wellbeing. These people need support of other people and the focus should be on improving their conditions on every aspect and to make their culture well-established in this modern society. This process will help them to develop their community to sustain significantly in the society.

This study was thus based on the lessons learnt from the program of Cassowary Coast Regional Council and about how this program was significant for the cultural development of the aboriginal people of Australia.