Author(s): Benjamin Allmon; David Kelly (Photographer)
70km, 3 days, 2 canoes, one unforgettable adventure."A land bridge connected Minjerribah to Kombumerri country, and Goories also came in canoes to Minjerribah trading bunya for eugarie, amongst other things..."- History Life and Times of Robert Anderson; Gheebelum, Ngugi, Mulgumpin. It was after reading this line that Gold Coast author Benjamin Allmon realised he knew nothing of the Indigenous maritime history of his home, the land of the Saltwater People. So he embarked on a voyage of discovery that led him further than he ever expected. Together with Bundjalung canoe maker Kyle Slabb, veteran paddler Mark Matthews, their families and the local Indigenous communities, they set out to make traditional canoes that they would then paddle from the heart of the Gold Coast to Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island). But what started as one man's attempt to educate himself became something far bigger - The Saltwater Story. It is a story of connection - not just between the Bundjalung-Yugambeh people and the Quandamooka people, but between generations; between black and white; between land, sea, and sky. It is a story of collaboration - whether it is made from bark or dugout, no-one makes a canoe alone. It is a story of co-operation - the paddlers must work together if they are to get anywhere. And it is a story of continuance - of ancient knowledge now held by just a few, of ensuring that tomorrow's elders are brought along for the journey today.