Culture alive in wilderness

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Carly LadenBroome Advertiser
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Bardi dancers perform for guests at the Gumbanan Wilderness Retreat.
Camera IconBardi dancers perform for guests at the Gumbanan Wilderness Retreat. Credit: Supplied

A serene beachfront campground just 220km north of Broome offers more than just a getaway.

Gumbanan Wilderness Retreat is one of several getaways the Dampier Peninsula has to offer, allowing visitors to explore the beauty of the Kimberley.

Retreat manager Gerard Petrov said although the campground had been open to the public since 2005, Gumbanan had been part of the Davey family for centuries.

“(Gumbanan Wilderness Retreat) has been an integral part of the Daveys’ family home for generations,” he said. “The current elders, Frank and Maureen, are integral members of the Dampier Peninsula community and have enjoyed sharing their love and passion for their homeland with tourists and locals alike.

“We are working together, renewing the campground to reflect its surrounding beauty so it can grow and flourish for future generations.”

Petrov said the Davey family members formed a crucial part of the campground, offering cultural experiences, knowledge and appreciation of the land. “The family are part of the Bardi Jawi people, known to be ‘Saltwater People’, and are also world-famous for their unique dancing,” he said.

“The Bardi dancers are a traditional male dance group (comprising) elders and future leaders of the Bardi people and they have performed nationally and internationally.

“They are keepers of traditional culture and stories, through song and dance.

“Their style is very distinctive as they perform with intricate totems depicting coastal life and traditional hunting practices, handed down orally and visually from generation to generation — a strong example of living culture in contemporary society.”

Gumbanan Wilderness Retreat also offers custom cultural tours, with experiences including spear-making, mud crabbing, bush tucker tours, local cooking, fishing and storytelling.

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