THE USE OF SILENCE TO HELP PRESERVE A CULTURE
When we think about learning a language, it would go a little something like; memorising, playing with the words and phrases in your mouth and then attempting to reproduce the sounds and noises in a similar fashion. The crew at 1770 LARC! Tours, however, have a different approach when it comes to educating their guests about the local Indigenous culture and languages. The team believe an important way for guests to grasp the area’s heritage and cultural significance lies in silence.
Operating in the Gladstone region of 1770, 1770 LARC! Tours’ owner Neil Mergard found engaging the local Indigenous people more than important:
“We are based in the town of 1770 [which is] mostly well known for Lieutenant James Cook landing. Our surrounds and monuments all mark this day. Persevering to keep the traditional language alive is the least we can do, and if we do not do it, this pure and special language will get lost in history,” says team member Jessica Cooke.
A product formulated with local Indigenous community input and permission from Traditional Owners is the 1770 LARC! Goolimbil Walkabout Tour – a tour dedicated entirely to the local Indigenous culture. With a tour guide from the Gooreng Gooreng people, guests receive a theatrical experience and learn about the wonderful culture that lived in the area sustainably for tens of thousands of years. It is important to 1770 LARC! Tours that local tales, Aboriginal beliefs, translations and traditional hunting and gathering techniques are shared in an effort to preserve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and cultures.
The whole team at 1770LARC! Tours agree that they feel incredibly privileged to assist in sharing local Indigenous language and culture with visitors. They believe a special aspect of the tour is learning about the power of silence. What does this mean? During a section of the guided bushwalk, guests are encouraged to remain quiet, to listen and to observe.
“Everything you need to know about your surroundings will become obvious,” explains Jessica.
“A bee will direct you to a hive, birds will tell you about rain, a bubble in the water will show you a crab. Taking the time to observe all the smaller things like this increases the awareness and appreciation of the very roots of nature. For people to start caring and looking after the earth, they first need to appreciate it.”
We couldn’t agree more!
With the rapid loss of many of our traditional languages, people are often unaware of the creativity, beliefs and depth of intelligence of Australia’s oldest culture. It is so important to understand the ways of a culture that has lived at one with nature for so many thousands of years, and by educating guests and encouraging them to utilise the power of silence, the 1770 LARC! Tours’ team has highlighted how environmental conservation and cultural preservation go hand in hand.
[Photos: 1770 LARC! Tours]