Yellow Gin Creek Bridge renamed to Youngoorah Bridge

December 09, 2016 at 5:00 PM

During 2014 and 2015 the Juru People worked closely with the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR, Northern Region) to manage the cultural heritage aspects for the Bruce Highway Yellow Gin Creek Bridge Project located between Ayr and Bowen.

The Juru People and DTMR developed a Cultural Heritage Management Agreement (CHMA) to protect the important cultural values of the project area. A team of Traditional Owners walked country to carry out a cultural survey and impact assessment study before the construction of the new bridge took place.

Yellow Gin Creek has important and enduring cultural significance to the Juru People. The creek and adjacent coastline and wetlands formed a focal living and foraging place for the Juru People in prehistoric times. The surrounding landscape contains many archaeological sites, especially old camping places, fireplaces, stone artefact scatters and burials. The local Aboriginal oral history for this place provides evidence that in historic times (after European settlement), Yellow Gin Creek became a central living place for some local ‘light-skinned’ women who worked at Inkerman Station. In particular, one of the Juru People’s apical ancestors was reported to have lived in this area.

In 2016 DTMR called for public submissions to name the newly constructed Yellow Gin Creek Bridge. The Juru People felt that the bridge should 

have an Aboriginal language name to reflect the ongoing cultural significance and values of this creek and surrounding area. The Juru Aboriginal language name for woman/women is ‘Youngoorah’ and this name was submitted to DTMR by Kyburra Munda Yalga Aboriginal Corporation as part of the public consultation process. On 9 December 2016, DTMR announced that the submission by Kyburra Munda Yalga Corporation was successful and they held a commissioning ceremony at the Yellow Gin Creek Bridge to unveil the new bridge name as ‘Youngoorah’.

Everyone who now passes over Yellow Gin Creek Bridge on the Bruce Highway can reflect on the Aboriginal cultural significance of this place as part of the Juru People’s homelands, but also the very important role that Yellow Gin Creek has played in the lives of local Aboriginal women throughout the history of the Lower Burdekin district.

Author: Ricardo Martinez, Deputy Principal Legal Officer (Townsville)