Blessings on Singing Up Spirit of the Land

Welcome to Country by Uncle Bob Anderson at the opening of Singing Up Spirit of the Land. Raymond Walker eldest grandson of Oodgeroo of the Tribe Noonuccal reads his grandmothers poem Glad Tomorrow, blessing song and Garinga da Gana. He shares the translation. Film and editing by Paul Bishop.

Ending Sand Mining

Mining has been a part of the Minjerriba history since 1949. The sand mining industry on Stradbroke Island began with shovels and trucks on Main Beach. This developed over time to large-scale dredging operations and up until 2019 mineral leases covered approximately 60% of the Island. Lines in the Sand A History of Mineral Sandmining on Queensland’s Barrier Islands states that in 1997 the then mine owner CRL commissioned a new mine at the Ibis-Alpha ore-body.

“The new mine became a focal point for the anti-mining campaign and Brisbane-based conservation groups, including the QCC and the Greens, formed the Stradbroke Island Action Coalition (SIAC) which also included the QLC, now strongly opposed to mining. The SIAC organised a number of protests on the Island to highlight their concern including a public rally, held in August 1996,98followed by a blockade of the road to the new mine site which caused delays in the commissioning of the mine” (Sweett, p66).

The author goes onto say that the blockade continued for over a month, but ended after disagreements within QLC and lack of support from SIMO and community.

Stop Ming StradbrokeFigure 1. 1997 Around 60 people gathered at Dunwich March 26 to protest against sand mining. Image retrieved from FOSI Facebook Page.

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Singing Up Spirit of the Land, March 28 – May 9 2021

Distinguished Ngugi elder and Quandamooka Traditional Owner Uncle Bob Anderson (Dr. Robert Anderson OAM) is the focus of art exhibition Singing Up Spirit of the Land. Contemporary digital and painted portrait work capture not just likeness of the elder, but spiritual meaning behind sand minings end on Minjerribah, North Stradbroke Island in 2019, a result of native title determinations granted to the Quandamooka peoples in 2011. The integrity of these artworks are testament to an enduring relationship between Aboriginal elder Uncle Bob Anderson and artist Jo Fay Duncan who identifies as an ecological artist and second generation Scot, residing on Quandamooka Country. 

At 92, Uncle Bob is a living legend. His legacy concerns not only Native Title determinations over Quandamooka Country but also Aboriginal rights in the work place. These artworks are a tribute to him, an honouring of the ancestors and hope for a better world for our descendants. 

This exhibition encapsulate a body of work that articulates a remarkable window, to the complex and living culture of those of and living on  Quandamooka country; both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal at the time of minings end on Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island). It bespeaks of reconciliation in action in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal relations and in our collective relationship to Country – be it the homelands of our ancestors or those of anothers.

Uncle Bob Anderson is seen here in interview with artist Jo Fay Duncan about the portrait Spirit Man Walking Country Once More 2019.

Science Under Sail January 2021

A six night sail was shortened to four thanks to a Brisbane COVID lock-down. Science Under Sail departed Manly and moored five nights at the Moreton Bay Research Station mooring at One Mile. Gathering data concerning the health and status of sea grass from the ocean floor, we chartered waters of the Rainbow and Rous Channels, Lazaret Gutter behind Peel Island, the Amity and Maroon Banks.

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Where Did All the Good People Go?

With COVID and island businesses closing, many may well ask where do I get a good coffee? The real question, as singer songwriter Jack Johnsons asks is Where Did All The Good People Go? I would say a hell of a lot of them were at Benji’s at some stage or another over recent years and these include hospitality, schooling and accomodation workers, musicians, yoga enthusiasts, backpackers who’ve lived or stayed there. But now, yet another permanent island rental is taken off the market in favour of development.

Renovating is the other catch cry of recent months and “turning my permanent rental into a holiday letting”.  Investment property owners on the island are moving to make this their primary place of residence since being locked out of the island during COVID. Our community is turning into one that has limited human resources to work the hospitality, accomodation and other island services that enable tourism. I recently waited two months for an electrician. Permanent rental accommodation options are an unforeseen casualty of these strange times. Economic imperative to pay off the mortgage, opportunism to proffer from the growth in tourism, coupled with lifestyle aspirations of many will be the undoing of us all.

The divide between visitors, new arrivals, holiday makers and local community will become ever wider if the glue that is the island workers are not looked after. I for one am making my spare bedroom available to those who have been given notice at the Bungalows, Pulan Pulan. I want to also pay tribute to Benji’s Place, which was Sunny’s old beach house and one of the original homes at Adder Rock next to the Road House at the Point. In recent years Benji and Josephine have played host to all and sundry who have come to the island to have a bed (or lounge to sleep on), share music, food and good vibes. These people have contributed to the island colour, culture and diversity. Never has the statement the door is always open ever been more true.

I too have have found a bed there in times of trouble. Credit goes to the property owners for accepting such unconventional tenants. But with local conscienceless Council approval for the demolition of what many would call a character dwelling, a 11 unit complex is approved to replace the existing fibro beach shack. Finding somewhere that serves a good coffee is small problem when community people are unable to find anywhere to live.

Magical Creatures

As an artist I work in many media from drawing and works on paper, to projection and sound scape. In contrast to the high tech of digital imaging recent works are assemblage sculptures simply made of drift wood and feathers all found on the wetlands and beaches of my island home.

Attached are a gathering of these supernatural beings, suspended infront of shadows almost more alive than they are. Snake Bird to me is almost a creational being, there is an elephant posing as a dragonfly and another is the scull of a unicorn wolf. Winged Three Legged Horse promises sublime journeys through the ether. All were in a group exhibition part of Canaipa Mudlines: Environmental Art at Redlands Art Gallery, Nandeebie in the Quandamooka Australia.

Charles Zuber 1948 – 2020


Drawing and tribute to Charlie Zuber a dear friend, colleague, artist and photographer.

Title: Charles Zuber
Artist: Jo Fay Duncan
Medium: Charcoal, pencil and ink wash on paper
Size: 700mm x 1100mm