Our Homeland

Kullilli country is located in Channel Country bioregion.  It is spectacular red earth country characterized by vast floodplains, channels fringed by gidyea and eucalypt woodlands, sand dunes, gravel plains, and mulga shrublands.

The Bulloo River is the heartland of Kullilli country, and is known by our people to have been carved out during Creation times by the underground travels of a legendary serpent creature that still inhabits the river and its waterholes today.

Our people believe Kullilli country is animated by the spirits of the ancestors who protect and watch over the land and its people. The country can feel the presence of those who walk upon it, and it has the power to nurture people who look after the country, or to harm people who do wrong.

Our People

We, the Kullilli People, are today descended from 32 ancestors associated with Kullilli country around the time of first colonial incursion and pastoralism in South West Queensland (circa 1850s). Our descent can be traced through one (or more) of our grandparents, with personal totems (also referred to as ‘yurrdi’ or ‘meat’) usually inherited through one’s mother, and mother’s mother.

Kullilli people today live throughout southern Queensland, including Brisbane, Ipswich, Toowoomba, the Darling Downs, Cunnamulla, Thargomindah, Cherbourg, Woorabinda, and Rockhampton, as well as further afield into New South Wales and Northern Queensland. This is a result of the forced removal of Aboriginal people by government interventions from the late 1800s up until the late 1960s, which saw Aboriginal people either working on pastoral stations on their own country, or removed to government settlements such as Cherbourg and Woorabinda.

While certain Kullilli families have particular associations to certain areas of Kullilli country (and this is consistent with traditional forms of land-ownership), today our people are united as one under our native title determination and the Kullilli Bulloo River Native Title Aboriginal Corporation. Learn more about our native title >>

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Our Language and Culture

Our people belong to a wider cultural grouping associated with ‘Corner Country’, which is where the boundaries of New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia meet.  The Aboriginal people of Corner Country are associated with four main language groups:

  • Karnic Languages of the Lake Eyre Basin (including Wangkumara and Punthamara)
  • Kalali (considered by some linguists a ‘fringe language’ between Karnic to the West and Maric to the East and North)
  • Paakantyi Languages of the Darling River.
  • Yarli Languages of the Cobham Lakes area across to the Flinders Ranges.

Aboriginal people in Corner Country formed ‘a special cultural community’, where despite our language differences, we shared in marriage, ceremonies, and Mura Stories (known elsewhere in Australia as Dreaming tracks).

Mura is the name given to the ancestral beings (often animals who could morph into human form) who travelled the country, forming it and naming it as they went. The title Mura is also shared with the narratives and songs recalling the travels of the ancestral beings, and these stories connect places and language communities across Corner Country. For example, an important mura for our people is the great serpent that carved out the Bulloo River while travelling underground.

Kullilli people are also associated with the groups to the East, sharing in ceremonies, gatherings and marriages with our neighbours, such as Budjiti and Mardigan.

Although colonization eventually disrupted both language and institutionalized ceremonial practice, we continue to share stories and knowledge about our country and our people today. We are renowned at the Cherbourg settlement as knowledgeable people, amongst them rainmakers and Murri doctors, or powerful sorcerers, and we are respectfully known as ‘the White Eyes’.

A custom that is today continued amongst Kullilli people is the smoking ceremony, which has a cleansing effect, and is used to prevent spirits from lingering around places, people, and things.