"The Milbi Wall" Top 5 Page for this destination Cooktown Things to Do Tip by sirgaw

Cooktown Things to Do: 15 reviews and 42 photos

A unique attraction for Cooktown is the Milbi (story in the Guugu Yimithirr language) Wall, a one metre high curving wall around 12 metres in length made of many hundreds of ceramic tiles and divided into 3 sections.

The first tells the stories of the creation of the Cooktown area (sometimes called dreamtime stories), so important to the culture of the first Australians.

The second section of the wall represents the first contact with Europeans ? Captain James Cook and his crew aboard The Endeavour and continues to the sad time of the of WW2 when the people were forcibly evacuated south by the steamship Poonbar to a community near Townsville and not returned until 1950, 5 years after wars end. Another good reason for "Sorry Day."

Third section centres around the 1967 Australian Constitutional referendum, when we, the Australian people, voted with a huge majority to give Aboriginal and Torrens Strait people full equality, including voting rights.

One of the many panels depicts the arrival of Cook and his ship, ?It was an incredulous people who watched Captain Cooks huge ship arrive. It was outrageous compared to the Aboriginal practical small canoes. Also the white skinned people were thought to be ghosts. Being a spiritual people, the Aboriginals fear made first contact very slow and difficult. They named them Wangarr, meaning white people, which is still commonly used by the Guugu Yimithirr people today.

?When onshore to repair the ship Cook gained the confidence of the Aboriginal people without violence. Scientific recordings were made and the gangurru was given the name kangaroo?

The log of James Cook does tell a slightly different story; shots were fired and at least one Aboriginal was injured. In retaliation, fires were lit in the tinder dry grass and bush land and paty of Cooks ships? property was destroyed. Sometimes the acts of reconciliation do mean truths are quietly swept aside for the benefits of all. (From reading of another journal, it would appear that a temporary pig sty was destroyed in that fire and some pigs escaped. It seems that feral pigs are sometimes called "Captain Cookers" by locals)

The Milbi Wall is well worth a visit and if you are interested in visiting other Aboriginal Culture sites and attractions in FNQ click here

Web site shown below is not an official site, but does show more photos than I?ve displayed.

Address: Charlotte Street, Cooktown, Qld
Directions: Opposite the Cooktown Seaview Motel and adjacent to the Cooks Landing Place monument.
Website: http://www.jeffress.net/jamworks/celebration/milbi.htm

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 17, 2011
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