Welcome the whales to Moreton Bay

The Redlands’ reputation as a whale watching hotspot will be on show this Saturday during a traditional ceremony to welcome the whales at Point Lookout, North Stradbroke Island.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said Yura Yalingbila (Welcome of the Whales) was an annual tradition of the Quandamooka People and one of the highlights of this year’s Quandamooka Festival.

“Every year, thousands of humpback whales pass North Stradbroke Island between May and October, migrating north to breed in the warmer waters of the Great Barrier Reef before returning south with their calves,” she said.

“This event is an opportunity to be part of a traditional welcoming ceremony for the humpback whales and wish them well on their journey from the best land-based whale-watching location in Australia.

“Featuring the Yulu Burri Ba traditional dancers and live music from singer-songwriter Andrea Kirwin, BlackSalt featuring Georgia Corowa and Waveny Yasso, and talented local choralists from the Stradbroke Island Singers, it’s set to be a great day out for the whole family.

The Yulu Burri Ba traditional dancers

The Yulu Burri Ba traditional dancers

“There’s also arts and craft, weaving, workshops, kids’ activities, good food, a sand art competition and opportunities to learn more about these majestic sea creatures during whale-watching cultural tours with Matthew Burns, and of course the chance to sit back and watch the whales.”

Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) CEO Cameron Costello said the traditional ceremony was a feature of the 2016 Quandamooka Festival.

“Yura Yalingbilla is a key event of the festival. We come together with the broader community to share culture and celebrate the majestic creatures that inhabit Quandamooka waters,” he said.

Division 2 Councillor for North Stradbroke Island and Cleveland Peter Mitchell said humpback whales were just one example of the plentiful marine life in the waters surrounding Straddie.

“From the headlands at Point Lookout at this time of year, you can often see humpback whales breaching, dolphins riding the waves, and turtles and manta rays cruising through the waters,” Cr Mitchell said.

“Point Lookout is an internationally recognised site for watching the migration of humpback whales, with scientists from the University of Queensland regularly undertaking a land-based survey of their migration as part of a long-running research project.

“With whales passing within metres of the island, Point Lookout is the perfect place for land-based whale watching and this weekend’s traditional welcoming ceremony is the perfect way to experience their annual migration.”

Event details:

Date: Saturday 23 July, 11am – 3pm
Location: Headland Park, Point Lookout, North Stradbroke Island

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