Indigenous Tourism Consulting

 


Experience in Indigenous Tourism

Go Fish Australia is a business built from scratch and the first business of its kind in Australia. Through our 35 years of working in the tourism and events space in Australia, we are now considered experts in the field of fishing-tourism, a relatively new market in the industry. Importantly, we have worked within the fledgling indigenous tourism industry and we feel, are at the very forefront of the huge potential of this market.  A little about our experience......

In 2008, I joined Indigenous Community Volunteers (ICV) as I had a great interest in indigenous culture, especially the incredible ability to pass on stories, language, dance and other traditions to each generation.  As I had had none of this growing up, (I barely knew what my own heritage was), I wanted to learn more.  Through ICV, I was assigned to a posting in Kowanyama in Cape York, the Traditional Owners being the Kunjen Clan, where I was based for three weeks. During this time, I was under the guidance of Josie Creek, Manager at the Women's and Children's Health Services Centre. My volunteering role was to set up an annual event from an administrative and logistical perspective.  I was welcomed by the community and was involved in many social events.  It was an experience I still treasure.   After this secondment, I took a high-profile and busy event role in Brisbane and, due to the incredibly long hours, I was unable to travel further with Indigenous Community Volunteers but kept in contact with Josie and attended ICV events.

Between 2009 and 2017, I was not afforded the time or the opportunity to interact with indigenous organisations due to my event roles and the 70+ hour weeks.  It was not until 2017 and the creation of my own business, Go Fish Australia that I could dictate my own time and concentrate on what mattered to my business, which was to identify, support and mentor indigenous organisations across Queensland and the Northern Territory, with a view to supporting new fishing product. 

In 2017 I was fortunate to spend much time in The Gulf of Carpentaria looking at fishing products and had two days with the Gangalidda people of Burketown.  They then introduced me to Polly Smith at Marpoon in the Cape, where she wanted to start a tourism business involving turtle, bush tucker and language.  We spent the day together and began the process of finding grants, support and creating a business plan over the subsequent months.  This was on a pro-bono basis.

When putting together 3-day fishing packages in Cairns and the Gold Coast, I made sure there was an indigenous fishing element in each of these packages.  It was then I met Juan Walker from Walkabout Tours in Cairns, providing tours of Kuku Yalanji country.  I then met Luther Cora, a Yugambeh man from the Gold Coast and spoke about an indigenous experience regarding fishing and bush tucker.  Both appeared in my packages and I continue to include their products in every quote.

In 2018 I attended the Indigenous Tourism Forum on the Gold Coast where I met Cameron Costello, Elder of the Quandamooka mob and volunteered to be part of the new indigenous framework committee.  

In December 2018, I decided to investigate helicopter fishing south of Cairns, a first for Queensland and set my sights on the iconic fishing destination of K’gari (Fraser Island).  After the initial paperwork was submitted in March 2018, I began the process of finding out how to involve the Butchulla people as it was important to not only include them as an incredibly special part of any itinerary on K’gari, but to be transparent and inclusive out of respect for the traditional owners of K’Gari. 

In July 2019, I was incredibly fortunate to spend a week with the Yolngu people of East Arnhem Land at a homeland called Nyinyikay.  I sat with the women and learnt how to weave. I fished with the men, found bush tucker with the women and sat in an outdoor “classroom” each day to learn about the Yolngu way, the family structure, the language, the earth, moon and stars.  I bloody loved it!

After my time with the Yolngu, I approached Elder, Marcus Lacey, and suggested a fishing itinerary which Go Fish could promote internationally.  Subsequently, I held meetings with Marcus and his family’s representative in Sydney. We are working together to create something very special for the fishing market and I am guiding and mentoring them to get this product trade-ready yet ensuring they have ownership of each element.  This is again on a pro-bono basis.

Today I work hard to mentor and assist new indigenous tourism product across Australia.  This includes a selection of Aboriginal Land Councils in Australia in identifying, nurturing, mentoring and advancing the tourism potential in their assets.