The Mununjali culture of Beaudesert has been shared on the world stage, with two local Mununjali people delivering a smoking ceremony to welcome platypuses to San Diego Safari Park.
Mununjali cousins Jarred Fogarty and Stacie Fogarty, who both grew up in Beaudesert, were an integral part of the historic occasion, alongside Cobble Cobble/ Yuggera man Zaine Davis and Yugambeh Elder Rory O’Connor.
The smoking ceremony was to welcome the delivery of the platypuses Birrarung, an 8-year-old male, and Eve, a 15-year-old female, who were flown in custom-made crates on their own chartered flight from Taronga Zoo in Sydney.
It is believed to be the first time in more than 50 years that platypuses have been introduced to a zoo outside of Australia.
Stacie and Jarred Fogarty both work in the tourism industry back home, sharing their culture and knowledge at Dreamworld Corroboree on the Gold Coast.
Mr Fogarty, or JBuzsch, as he is known to his family and friends, said it was a special experience sharing culture abroad.
“Mununjali is my way of life, and nothing makes me happier than to share that with other cultures,” he said.
“It was a great exchange and a privilege to be on Kumeyaay land, the land of the San Pasqual band (mob).”
Ms Fogarty said it was a moment to remember.
“Representing my culture internationally was definitely one of the best experiences – culture is what keeps me grounded,” she said.
“It made me proud to stand up and dance for my people back home.”