Mornington Island is in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland, Australia, and is the country of the Lardil and Kaiadilt people. Mornington Island is the largest of the Wellesley Islands – a group of 23 islands in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The main township of Gununa, with a population of approximately 1200, is located in the South West corner of Mornington Island.
Jagarairee, the late Larry Lanley, speaks about the land:
At the heart of everything is the land. It is the way we think and feel about the land that makes us Aboriginal. It is the only way to keep our culture. For many, many years our ancestors worked out how we should live in this country. How we should use everything around us and what to do to keep our relationship with it strong. These are the things the Europeans don’t understand about the way the bush can help us. These things can help Europeans too when their own way of living makes their lives sad. We can teach Europeans all about these things.
They are the things we have always known. Today my people can see more than one way of living. Now there are many things in our lives that were not there before. Our lives are changing but this does not mean we should forget the things that it took us thousands of years to work out. These things keep us clear and straight and make us strong inside. They show us the proper way for Aboriginal people to live.
Our bodies must keep doing the dances and living in the bush, and making the artifacts that keep our skills alive. These things are what we need to keep the head and the body together until we are given back our land and the land can make us whole again.
Jagarairee, the late Larry Lanley
former chairman of the Mornington Island Council
Our free Introduction to Mornington Island Culture and History PDF will give you a good overview.
Download by clicking PDF image.
Mornington Island Leadership – Produced by Bush TV and QLD government
To find out even more:
Contemporary anthropologists Paul Memmott, Nicholas Evans and Norvin Richards have researched and written a great deal about the peoples of Mornington and Bentinck Islands. Here are some links to their works:
Prof Paul Memmott
Prof Nicholas Evans
Prof Norvin Richards
- Dr Erich Round website
- University of Queensland project : Isolation, Insularity and Change in Island Populations
- Cameo Dalley : Social Relations and Relatedness in a Remote Aboriginal Township, Mornington Island, Gulf of Carpentaria
- Daniel Rosendahl : Isolation, Insularity and Change: Geoarchaeological investigations of cultural landscapes of the Carpentaria people, Wellesley Islands.
The Morning Glory
- Morning Glory : Cloud formations
- Wikipedia entry on Morning Glory
- 15 Sept 2010 : Article on ABC News
Other links of interest
- Review of David McKnight’s controversial book From Hunting to Drinking (2002)
- Native Sea Claim Determination
- Rain Bush TV Page on Mornington Island
- Quarterly Report on Key Indicators iN Queensland’s discrete Indigenous Communities (Oct-Dec 2008) : Mornington Island
- Profile commissioned by Council a few years ago
- Queensland Government’s description of Mornington
- Wikipedia entry
- James Cook University entry
- Mornington Island State School