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Yalingbila Bibula (Whale on the Hill)

Project overview

The whale exhibit will share the story of the island’s Traditional Custodians, the Quandamooka People and their continuous connection to the majestic Eastern Humpback whales.

Yalingbila Bibula will house a 15-metre skeleton of the yalingbila (whale) that beached itself at Mulumba (Point Lookout) in 2011. It will be the only intact humpback whale skeleton on display in the Southern Hemisphere.

The exhibit will include information on:

  • Eastern Australian Humpback whales
  • traditional stories and connection of the Quandamooka People to whales
  • key role Mulumba has played in international whale research and whaling politics

The exhibit will enable visitors to hear the amazing songs and sounds of passing whales. In a collaboration with the University of Queensland, the structure will include a research pod. A special hydrophone (ocean tethered microphone) will transmit back to the research pod. This will present visitors with the unique experience of watching a whale pass, hearing its song, viewing a skeleton and talking to a researcher in one place.

Yalingbila Bibula is a priority action in Gudjundabu Marumba: Tourism for a Glad Tomorrow, a five-year strategy for sustainable tourism on Quandamooka Country (PDF), launched by the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) with the State in December 2018.

For more information on Yalingbila Bibula visit www.qyac.net.au

Project delivery

The Queensland Government’s Department of Energy and Public Works is managing the design, procurement and construction of Yalingbila Bibula on behalf of the QYAC.

Cox Architecture has been appointed as the principal consultant.

The project is receiving funding from Minjerribah Futures and the University of Queensland (UQ).

Location

Yalingbila Bibula will be located at 6-12 Mooloomba Road, Mulumba (Point Lookout) alongside the North Gorge Walk. Mulumba is one of the best places for land-based whale watching in the world. Humpback whales pass closer to the coast here than any other easily accessible point in Australia. On a good day, lucky whale watchers can see 200 whales pass the headland between dawn and dusk.

Design

The proposed structure will have a minimal footprint and be culturally sensitive. Responding to community feedback, the structure will be built into the restored landscape from complementary materials, and will only come into view as walkers round the corner of the North Gorge Walk. Its highest point will sit below the existing tree line and sections of the local environment around the building will be restored to the natural topography and landscaping will feature native plants.

Scientific collaboration

Mulumba is one of the world’s most important sites for international whale research. The recording of whale songs and sounds is a key part of UQ's research into whale behaviour. Ongoing whale research from Mulumba will provide vital clues about the impacts of climate change, as well as mapping fluctuations in Eastern Humpback populations.

The unique access visitors will have to the sounds and the researchers is a powerful conservation and environmental awareness tool. It will help to create a direct connection between visitors and a singing whale. This is consistent with the Yalingbila Bibula goal of conservation and scientific knowledge sharing.

Working with Queensland Museum

Between 2011, when the whale beached itself on Minjerribah, until early 2020 when the whale bones were shipped to Canada to be prepared for display, the Traditional Custodians, represented by QYAC, have worked closely with Queensland Museum to store and preserve the whale skeleton.

Queensland Museum will also play an integral role in the skeleton’s return to the island in 2021. The Museum team is assisting QYAC, UQ and Cox Architects to develop the information for display within the structure.

Benefits

  • Educate visitors in Quandamooka culture, art and history

  • Build a new facility for scientific research

  • Educate visitors about humpback whales and their conservation

Last updated: 04 Dec 2020