Leanne Dudley and Rick Fennessey erected the first sign at the Gladstone Marina boat ramp.
Leanne Dudley and Rick Fennessey erected the first sign at the Gladstone Marina boat ramp. Brenda Strong GLARAMP

Sea Country signs erected recognise traditional owners

GLADSTONE'S traditional owners say "Welcome to Sea Country" signs at boat ramps across the region are a positive step to recognising their history.

Gladstone Ports Corporation is installing the new signage, acknowledging the Sea Country of the Port Curtis Coral Coast traditional owners (PCCC).

The PCCC Sea Country includes all the coastal areas between Balaclava Island, Lady Elliot Island, North Reef Island and all tidal lands and waters below the line of the highest tide.

Peter Brockhurst, committee member of the Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement (TUMRA), said the signs were an initiative in the right direction.

"The main purpose is to help people recognise and respect the traditional owners of the land," he said.

Under TUMRA, management of the indigenous turtle harvest has been negotiated, as well as the discontinuing of dugong harvesting.

Senior elder Uncle Colin Johnson said signs were imperative in sharing management of the harbour.

"It's very important to advertise that signs are up," he said.

"It shows that we are looking into the responsible management of our coastal areas".

GPC's Corporate and Employee Relations general manager Trina Schmidt expected the signage would contribute to an increased awareness of traditional owner groups and their heritage.

"The TUMRA signage recognises the importance of Connection to Country," she said.

"It helps foster respect for the cultural heritage of the land and sea".

The PCCC consists of four saltwater groups: Gooreng Gooreng, Gurnag, Taribelang Bunda and Bailai.