The Mossman Gorge in the Daintree Rainforest not only promises visitors an exceptional landscape of lush scenery, it also lets visitors step back in time to experience Australia’s ancient culture, where they can learn about the rich heritage of the local Indigenous people who live in the area.
While in the region, you can hear from the Kuku Yalanji people themselves about the legends and history that imbues the Gorge and its surroundings.
The Kuku Yalanji People
The Kukuk Yalangi people originate from the rainforests in the lush north of Queensland. Here, they have been living together in complete harmony with the environment for more than 50,000 years, which is when life in Australia is thought to have come about.
Some tribes of the Kuku Yalanji people spread as far as Port Douglas, Cooktown, and Chillagoe, but, for the most part, they are concentrated around the Mossman River and Gorge.
Nature is a hugely important part of the Kuku Yalanji people’s belief systems, and they have intimate knowledge of its cycles which has been passed down from generation to generation. They are often known as the “rainforest people” because of their close affinity with nature and their surrounding scenery.
The Kuku Yalanji people have been sharing their knowledge and histories around the Mossman Gorge officially since 1986, offering tours to visitors and guided walks through the scenery. Now, there is an eco-tourism centre at the Gorge that gives visitors the chance to learn more about the rich cultural history of the Kuku Yalanji people and their connection with the environment.
Dreamtime stories are a rich part of Indigenous culture, and the Mossman Gorge is steeped in numerous legends that span back thousands of years. One of the most popular narratives follows the backdrop of the Gorge – Manjal Dimbi. This is an impressive mountain whose name, when translated, means “mountain holding back”.
According to some Dreamtime stories that imbue the area, the large humanoid rock of Manjal Dimbi represents Kubirri who helped the Kuku Yalanji people when they fell afoul of the evil spirit, Wurrumbu. Kubirri held back the evil spirit, who now sits in The Bluff above the Mossman River.
A visit to the Daintree Rainforest and the Mossman Gorge isn’t just an opportunity to experience some of Australia’s most mesmerising natural scenery, but it also gives you the chance to learn more about the Kuku Yalanji people and their fascinating history and contribution to Australian heritage.