Community based supports have allowed Napranum’s Charlie “Gibbo” Bosen to visit his brother ‘bala T’s’ grave on their Thanikwithi clan lands at Duyfken point, north of Weipa for the first time in years.
His brother’s final wish, following a tragic car accident in 2019 was to be laid to rest in this spot. For Gibbo, who can no longer drive due to a mining accident in 2014 that left him with permanent mobility issues, accessing their traditional land to visit his brother has not been possible for almost two years. However, the developing collaboration between our Disability Supports team and NDIS support coordinators Xtreme Care allowed him to finally reconnect with his traditional lands and heritage.
This land, while only approximately twenty kilometers across Albatross Bay from Napranum, is accessed by land via long, sandy and very technical 4WD tracks. Western Cape Disability Supports team leader Melissa Solomon transported Gibbo and his family friend Joe K to the site. Gibbo and Joe were assisted by the Solomon family to clear growth surrounding the gravesite and dress the grave, adding new white shells from the shoreline to adorn it.
“I really appreciate the support Melissa and My Pathway provide me, they have become like family to me” Gibbo said following the trip.
“Getting back on country helps me feel comfortable again, like I’m home.”
As the chief of his clan, visiting the point also helped crystalise Gibbo’s dream for the land. He would love to see an outstation established there to assist with cultural education and ecological preservation. Through it’s creation the Thanikwithi people would provide a connection to their culture to help preserve their language, stories and their land. The outstation would ideally also form a base station for traditional rangers to assist the preservation of endangered turtles who nest on the beach, as well as assist locals and tourists to experience the hatchings through tours and walks.
After the day reconnecting with his family and his country, Gibbo received what he believes was a spiritual sign from his brother. On leaving the beach, a large cloud moved in front of the setting sun, taking on the form of the Sea Eagle, which was his brother’s totem.
“Bala T was telling us he had seen our visit and was happy to have had us there again,” he said.