2016 Ration Shed Tours announced


Ration Shed Tours3







All aboard for Cherbourg’s Ration Shed Tours on the Most Excellent Adventures Tours for 2016

Aunty Honor Cleary and Uncle Marshall Saunders, along with Education Queensland’s North Coast Region Indigenous Education Unit, invite you to join in on the must do experience that will build your cultural awareness and understanding of life for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living under the Act.

During this full day out, you will be guided by the Elders who share their personal stories of resilience, family and culture.  All costs are included in the $70 per person cost.  Transport, Elders fees, morning tea, entry to the Ration Shed Museum, 2 course lunch and wine tasting are included in the ticket price.

Bookings can be made for the following tours in 2016:

14th May – Saturday
8th August – Saturday
5th of November – Saturday

Bookings at Sarah.Larsen@dete.qld.gov.au
or call (07) 5352 9250 Tuesday and Thursday to book

**  These tours are subsidised by the Department of Education Training – North Coast Region’s Indigenous Education Unit

2016 – The year ahead







2015 was a busy year for Black Cockatoo.

Early in the year, we (Cherbourg’s Ration Shed Museum) launched the Boys from Barambah – Black Diggers story for Cherbourg which led to several speaking engagements throughout the year.  It has been wonderful speaking to family members as they connect into the story of these Boys from Barambah and hearing more information about these men. I feel very blessed to have been a part of this journey.

Neil Murray and I, along with Mau Power, Mike Justice and Ben Hense headed north in August for the My Island Home Project (MIHP).  This project came about from a conversation at the dinner table late one night and came to fruition some 6 months later. MIHP was a $70 000 project which was successfully acquitted to two funding bodies. Logistically challenging, this project was a highlight for me personally as I was able to return to a community that I have a strong sense of belonging and responsibility to.  The boys also made me Executive Producer of the album which makes me giggle and is definitely a standout on my CV!!  to hear the album go to https://soundcloud.com/my-island-home-project

I have continued to work with Neil on organising gigs, Ozcrowd funding   https://ozcrowd.com/campaigns/neil-murray-and-sammy-butcher-tjungukutu-coming-together/?updated=true#.VpLb_TZUTUo and upcoming gigs across Australia in 2016.  A lot of upcoming anniversaries for some of Australia’s most significant historical events will be commemorated in 2016 and I am looking forward to hopefully being witness to some of these events.

I will be returning to work with Education Queensland this year in a part time capacity as Manager for Indigenous Education for the North Coast Region.  I am looking forward to creating innovative  projects with community and support our Indigenous Education workers to advance better outcomes for our mob.  Part time work, raising my 2 young boys, supporting my hubby in his new work role and continuing to find opportunities and gigs for Neil Murray ,will fill my 2016.

If you would like Neil to play in your community or have a private house concert, please contact me to discuss the possibilities.

So here is to a happy and healthy year, I will continue my updates on some of the projects I work on throughout the year, hope you enjoy me sharing my journey with you.  All the best in 2016.


My Island Home Project CD – Production starts

MIHP Profile pic1

My Island Home Project Compilation CD

The music has just returned from the USA where it was Mastered at SAGE Records and the button has been pushed to start Replication with Implant media in Melbourne.  Only 14 songs have made the cut from a possible 19 and the CD is due for release in early October on Thursday Island.

The songs have been recorded and produced by Ben Hense www.beattankproductions.com and Mike Justice www.meridiannights.com and will be played throughout Australia when we launch back on Thursday Island as a part of TSIMA’s 30th Birthday Celebrations.

Music will be available through Soundcloud, details to follow.


My Island Home Project hitting all the high notes


















My Island Home Project

It’s been a huge week up on Thursday Island for the My Island Home Project.  21 emerging artists from throughout the Torres Strait converged on Thursday Island for a week of mentoring in songwriting and recording with mentors Neil Murray, Mau Power, Mike Justice and Ben Hense.  The Project takes it ‘s name from the original song that Neil Murray wrote back in the 80’s when he was with the Warumpi Band.  My Island Home as you know has had a number of covers done, one of the latest being that of Patrick Mau or Mau Power with his organic hip hop beats which celebrates his connection to culture and community. Together with the Meridian Nights team of Mike Justice and Ben Hense, the artists developed their skills to write and record a song for the My Island Home Project album.

Due to launch in late September, the My Island Home Project CD will showcase the talent within the region and celebrate a sense of belonging to our Island communities and the seas of the Torres Straits.  Find out more by going to the My Island Home Facebook page where you can hear some of the songs from the artists as well as view  beautiful photos from the week.






My Island Home Project


















My Island Home Project

Don’t think my feet have really touched the ground yet, what a week, just amazing the talent of the Torres Straits!!  I was blown away from the dedication and focus of the mentors, participants and how the whole week transpired.  So very proud.

Early Sunday afternoon we got thrown a major curve ball but quickly resorted to Plan B and C.  Got to think quick when working remotely and in community. We remained on track despite this and got to work getting to know the participants and establishing a baseline and structure for each artist for the week ahead.  Mura Kosker was just brilliant for that grounding and support without question.  Big shout out to our sisters on the Rock for holding ground and giving us an anchor.  My sincere and truest love to you all.

As the week went on, we got down to business, writing, connecting and developing our expression for our culture and place.  The artists were incredible and before long, everyone was collaborating and value adding to each others material.  Before long it was Friday and we were gearing up for our FREE Community Concert at Port Kennedy Hall.  With over 300 people showing their support, the night ran smoothly with the showcase of talent and creativity of the week that was.  At the close, a steady shower of rain appeared from nowhere.  It was the ancestors giving their blessing and letting us know that they were with us and supporting us.  Yagar!!  Goosebumps.

Early the next morning, Neil Murray and Patrick Mau – Maupower, boarded a small plan to drop off some of the Outer Island mob and flew on to Mer, birthplace and resting place of the great man himself – Koiki Mabo.  Native Title was born in the Torres Strait and paved the way for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples since.  Seemed fitting to finish off the week this way.

Now busy developing the post production side of things, graphics for the CD, fine tuning the songs and getting final approval from the artists.  We aim to launch the CD on Thursday Island late September and aspire to have the My Island Home Project songs heard throughout mainland Australia.  I’m so inspired by the team I worked with and what we together created.  With the support of the Traditional Owners, Elders like Aunty Cessa Nakata (Mills Sisters) and Uncle Seaman Dan, coupled with the emerging talent and next generation, the sounds of music, culture and language is in good hands.  Congratulations to the 20 My Island Home Project artists.  Strong, proud and deadly


Sunshine Coast Queensland