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Gubbi Gubbi legacy lives

New children’s book Gubbi Gubbi Animal Friends was launched at Memorial Park Community Kindergarten. CONTRIBUTED
New children’s book Gubbi Gubbi Animal Friends was launched at Memorial Park Community Kindergarten. CONTRIBUTED CONTRIBUTED

GUBBI Gubbi Animal Friends, the children's book that incorporates the original language of the Gubbi Gubbi people, was recently launched at Memorial Park Community Kindergarten in Maroochydore.

Written by sisters Christine Stuart and Susan Clark and illustrated by Bianca Clark, the story follows an indigenous boy in search of his father and seeks to educate young readers on the history and language of the Gubbi Gubbi people.

Christine, who works as an indigenous community advisor within Sunshine Coast schools, said the main focus of the book was to share the history of the Gubbi Gubbi people and educate children on the language.

"I was having a meeting with Dr Eve Fesl who is a Gubbi Gubbi linguist and senior elder and we were talking about the importance of getting the language out there," Christine said.

"I then thought the best way to get it out was through children and to put it into a children's book and write it that way.

"I asked if she wanted to do it but she said no. She said I should use my imagination and do it that way."

Susan, an early educator at the Memorial Park Community Kindergarten, has seen a number of children's books and she feels that this one will become an important part of the school curriculum.

"Now that we've launched the book here on the Sunshine Coast I think kindergartens and schools are going to be definitely asking for it," Susan said.

"It's a part of the curriculum and schools don't know where to start…the Gubbi Gubbi language is important in this region and I can't wait until we get to distribute this nation wide.

"At such a young age, children are like a sponge, that's why we chose to write a children's book.

"It builds a foundation for years and years to come."

Illustrator Bianca, who is also a local business owner, used a variety of media to create the artistic images that accompany the story.

The book took almost a year to complete and Bianca said she had changed her mind multiple times in the creative process in order to get the pictures to resemble the indigenous culture correctly.

The Gubbi Gubbi people are the original owners of the land from Petrie through to just north of Kullogum, an area that includes the Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay and Burnett-Mary regions.

Christine, Susan and Bianca have indigenous family heritage within the Gubbi Gubbi people and have a personal connection to the book.

The Gubbi Gubbi language has recently been fading out and Susan hopes that Gubbi Gubbi Animal Friends will revamp the importance of knowing about the area's indigenous heritage. Many council libraries have already bought copies of the book and a number of schools have placed orders.

With a second book in the works, Christine, Susan and Bianca plan to continue the series to educate young Australians on the history of the Gubbi Gubbi people.

Topics:  gubbi gubbi