Annual event continues for Mount Isa aboriginal reserve

The Brilla Brilla Community Centre receives new photographs from the Major family for their existing archives of Yallambee. Photo: Chris Burns.
The Brilla Brilla Community Centre receives new photographs from the Major family for their existing archives of Yallambee. Photo: Chris Burns.

THE BRILLA Brilla Community Centre is organising the ‘Back to Yallambee Day’ at the local Aboriginal reserve for the second year. 

The centre’s coordinator Violet Dargan said the event will be held from 9am on Tuesday, January 17. The event slows down by noon. 

Like last year a highlight of the event will be the elders’ yarning circle. 

Mrs Dargan said that last year several of the elders were videoed as a way of collecting their stories for the history of the place. 

They are encouraged to share their stories of living in the reserve. 

“The plan is to make another one (video) from what we collect this year so that it slowly adds to our collection,” she said. 

“I have had a real good response from services, and this time we have police and the fire brigade on board which will add a little bit more excitement for the children.” 

Healy State School was also supporting the event, as was various community groups.

An elder who attended the first ‘Back to Yallambee Day’ in 2016 had been “extremely pleased” with the event, but he had since died. “He said ‘we will have another one next year,’” Mrs Dargan said.

The Major family has also recently donated a collection of old photographs of Yallambee, which were of benefit to the Brilla Brilla Centre’s archives. 

Kerry Major recalls living at Yallambee in the late 1960s to early 1970s, when her father worked in Dajarra. “I must have been three or four, and we’d come along and came along this area. It was just on the fringe times of assimilation…at that time about 20 to 30 camping groups used to live here.” She said local aboriginals had to prove qualities such as cleanliness before permitted to move into mainstream housing. 

Yallambee was administered by the Mount Isa City Council in the 1970s, according to Queensland Government documents.

Kalkadoon elder Ron Page recalled at the previous Yallambee Day that people first lived in tents and then in old buildings provided by the mines, but it was “rough and rugged” and with little opportunity.