Kuranda Scenic Railway Track Through Hills

Queensland Rail have established the First Nations Steering Group to incorporate Indigenous cultural experiences and storytelling onboard its long-distance and tourism services.

Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, said this is a collaboration between Queensland Rail, Indigenous tourism leaders and the Queensland Tourism Industry Council.

“This important partnership will work to incorporate more First Nations storytelling content on our much-loved long-distance travel and tourism trains,” Mr Bailey said.

“Queensland Rail previously introduced a Welcome to Country onboard the Spirit of Queensland, and have worked closely with Traditional Owners to share expertise and storytelling that can be shared with customers.

“We also designed brand-new menus for Gold Class Kuranda Scenic Railway customers which acknowledge Traditional Owners, Kuku Yalanji and Djabugay.

“The Steering Group had its first official meeting in October and already we’re seeing brochures and imagery featured onboard the Spirit of the Outback to include elements of Country as customers travel through them.

“I’m proud we can show and share the story of Traditional Owners and pay respect to Queensland’s rich Indigenous history.”

Barron River MP, Craig Crawford, said many tourists on the Kuranda scenic rail journey were interested to know the dreamtime story of Buda-dji.

“Djabugay people believe Buda-dji is the giant Carpet Snake who, in the dreamtime, carved out the Barron River, from the Tablelands to the coast,’’ Mr Crawford said.

“The Kuranda train follows the Barron Gorge and along the way tourists hear about notable places like Barron Falls “Din-Din” and Kuranda “Ngunbay”.

“This is an important part of truth-telling on the Path to Treaty, and Queensland Rail are leading the way with these cultural connections.’’

Queensland Tourism Minister, Stirling Hinchliffe, said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tourism experiences were highly sought-after by visitors to Queensland.

“It’s terrific to see Queensland Rail sharing our state’s unique Indigenous culture with passengers onboard the regional Queensland network,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“We know supporting Queensland’s genuine First Nations tourism experiences and stories are important for reshaping our visitor economy to welcome the world toward 2032.” 

Queensland Rail Head of Regional, Jim Benstead, said the rail operator’s focus on First Nations content meant improvements were on the cards for stations too.

“With some of our regional stations welcoming up to 80,000 customers each year prior to COVID-19, the First Nations Steering Group will be key to ensuring Indigenous content is kept front of mind in Queensland Rail’s planning process for the Regional Station Upgrade Program,” Mr Benstead said.

“The group will support consultation with Traditional Owners on upgrades at Maryborough West, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Townsville and Cairns stations to identify design elements at each station to ensure the cultural experience continues when customers disembark the train.

“These are important improvements to the regional rail network and just the beginning of what will be an ongoing collaboration into the future to deliver an inclusive rail network.”

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