Spirits of the Red Sand to take its place south-east Queensland tourism industry

SAND SPIRITS: Spirits of the Red Sand has evolved from a partnership between Beenleigh District Historical Society and Great Australian Experiences. Photos: Trevor Worden
SAND SPIRITS: Spirits of the Red Sand has evolved from a partnership between Beenleigh District Historical Society and Great Australian Experiences. Photos: Trevor Worden

A NEW large-scale, interactive cultural heritage experience inspired by the intersection of Aboriginal and colonial European cultures is planned for south-east Queensland, based at Beenleigh in the City of Logan.

Spirits of the Red Sand is a co-partnership between Great Australian Experiences and Beenleigh District Historical Society, bringing a major tourism attraction to the region and jobs for residents, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

The centrepiece of the project will be a 2.5-hour evening experience, including an interactive performance and a traditional Australian dinner at the Beenleigh Historical Village and Museum, adjacent to the M1 motorway.

The project will be ready in November 2017 for tourism industry and domestic visitors prior to its formal launch in March, 2018 ahead of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

According to the project’s website, the story of Spirits of the Red Sand is based on true events and authentic elements of Aboriginal culture.

“Many of the characters have been inspired by real people living in 1800s Australia. All of our Aboriginal actors are direct descendants of Australian Aboriginal mobs – their families experienced many of the events they bring to life in the show.”

Great Australian Experiences is a 50-50 partnership between Ipswich-based Nunukul Yuggera Aboriginal Dance Troupe and Mike Tamaki, a leading cultural tourism operator from New Zealand.

The partnership between Nunukul Yuggera Aboriginal Dance Troupe and the Beenleigh District Historical Society was brokered by Logan City Council in 2016, ahead of a council trade mission in August of that year to Tamaki Maori Village, Rotorua, New Zealand.

Stage one of the project will be a $1 million capital investment at the Beenleigh Historical Village and Museum, including a covered theatrette and the creation of a traditional Indigenous village.

The presentation given to Logan City Council by Mr Tamaki on July 11 announced the 32 part-time jobs that would be incorporated in the initial stage.

“It is expected that in three to five years there will be an additional $2- to $3-million investment and a further 120 part-time jobs,” he said.

Shuttle transport from Brisbane and the Gold Coast is envisaged for visitors attending the event.

Great Australian Experiences will operate independently of the existing Beenleigh District Historical Society business by hiring the entire venue from late afternoon to the evening.

According to Mr Tamaki, one of the benefits of the project will be increased economic independence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents.

For more information about this event go to spiritsredsand.com.