Dolphins and Indigenous men teamed up to hunt fish
Burleigh Heads: the indigenous side
This is part of a series that takes you on a journey through Burleigh Heads National Park, and uncovers rare insights into what life was like for the Kombumerri people that called Burleigh Heads home many years ago. Head to the main page to find out more and discover other segments in the series.
The region’s creeks, rivers, and beaches were a crucial source of food for the Kombemerri (salt water) people.
QPWS Indigenous Ranger Clinton Brewer says not only did his ancestors have a special relationship with the water, but a particularly unique relationship with dolphins.
In fact, dolphins used to help the local indigenous men hunt.
“They’d wade out into the water, and get all their spears and towrows, and nets. And a whole bunch of them would go out into the water,” Clinton says.
The men would then hit the water surface “making big loud noises.”
This sound was amplified under the surface and the dolphins would then chase all the fish in towards the men and their nets and spears.
“So they’d catch all the fish and spear them all up and then what they’d do… after they’d caught all the fish, they’d give some fish to the dolphins.
“It was hand-feeding and it even went as far as giving the dolphins names and splashing and playing with them, so that’s how close the relationship was.
“The dolphin is a very sacred animal to the Kombemerri people.”