Looking after Country!
We are the Goolarabooloo people
As you know, every country has laws. Here we have our own Traditional Laws. Our Laws come from Bugarregarre, the Dreamtime.
One of the major responsibilities of the Kimberley Law Bosses (the Elders) is to ensure that Traditional Culture (Law) is passed down to succeeding generations, in order to keep the Country and it's people safe.
The role of principle Law Boss and Law-Keeper for this land was handed over by Paddy Roe in his latter years, via traditional ceremony, to his grandson, Joseph Roe.
Joseph Roe is the Law Boss and custodian for the Northern Tradition and the Goolarabooloo people.
Alongside Joseph, the senior Law men of the Goolarabooloo people are two other grandsons of Paddy; Phillip Roe and Richard Hunter.
Joseph Roe holds the responsibility for the continuity of the Songline and its capacity to sustain life in its fullest. This includes keeping the coastal land clear of any development that would interfere with their law and culture, or damage their song cycle, places and sites.
23 years ago, Paddy Roe, with the support of his Goolarabooloo community, established the Lurujarri Heritage Trail - A nine day cultural walking journey along the song cycle, that involves leading visitors throughout this 80km stretch of saltwater coastal terrain, travelling as a group and sharing their heritage.
We are looking after Country!
The body of cultural knowledge that the old people hold and pass on, is preserved and kept alive within the Song Cycle that connects to specific sites (Law Grounds) in a continuous linear system up the coast of the Dampier Peninsula.
It comprises a collection of songs that hold a living memory, specific to particular places, trees, animals, and other landmarks - be they on land, sea, air or water. The lay for this land and its history, as known via these songs for place, has been sung for centuries at ceremony time.
The Goolarabooloo people are still actively engaged in looking after country, despite living within a western world that would have them sell it, for the greater economic resources of the nation. They believe that connection with country and culture is the base of one's' true sense of identity, spiritual and physical health, and self-esteem.
Strangers to Country need to be introduced by someone from that place - a person who knows its' songs, its' places to be wary of. Someone who can facilitate your safe passing, so that the Country will become familiar with your smell, and subsequently treat you well.
As with other indigenous clans across Australia, the Goolarabooloo people identify distinct territorial boundaries. Living within a domain of finite resources over countless generations demands that Country be managed in a sustainable way.
A time-honed ability to read the Six Seasons reflects fine-tuning to place, for example, recognising when is the best time to hunt different species or knowing where you will find water late in the Dry season.