Cardwell, south of Tully and opposite Hinchinbrook Island is the scene of the Girringun Cultural Festival, organised by the Girringun Aboriginal Cooperation. Girringun is the name of an ancestral creator who determined the marriage and hunting lore of Warangnu, Jirrbal, Warrgamay and Girramay peoples of the Hinchinbrook region. It is a festival celebrating indigenous culture and is dedicated to the preservation of the natural environment of the region.
Djarragun College, a school catering to indigenous students, mainly from the Cape York and Torres Strait Islands region, was well represented at the festival in 2007. Their Aboriginal dance group was in great form: both the boys' and girls' groups performed a number of times, accompanied by their 12 year old didjeridu player. There were three Torres Strait Islander groups from the different regions: Djarragun College students from the Top Western islands of Boigu and Saibai, just south of mainland Papua New Guinea, performed their distinctive dances, some accompanied by only drumming, others with singing from the girls. The Central Torres Strait Islander students, hailing from Yam Island (or Iama) were joined by a friend, who really inspired them to a great performance. Then there were the Eastern Torres Strait Islander students from Murray Island (Mer) who performed a number of dances, accompanied by drumming and singing, including a very unusual "play dance".
The Djarragun College students were very keen to watch the performance by the men and boys from Injinoo, a small community right at the top of Cape York, on the coast near Bamaga; many have family there so they know most of them. Their dance is unusual in that, using a drum, it shows Torres Strait Islander influence in their Aboriginal dances.
The yearly Townsville Cultural Fest is a five day festival with cultural performances from around the world. Here, too, the Djarragun College Dancers were very well represented in 2009 and 2010. The Aboriginal group performed their routines, depicting activities of traditional life; The Top Western Islands dancers performed their dances in elaborate costumes from Saibai, and the Paddle Dance and Maumatang War Dance from Boigu; there were also dances from the western islands as well. Impressive too, were the Murray Island dancers, especially in the performance of the "Kab Kar", where dancers wear the "dhari" headdress; in all groups the very young showed that the continuation of their culture is in very good hands.
Apart from the ones on this page, there are more videos of the Townsville Fest on my YouTube channel