Who we are

We are Traditional Owners and representatives of the seven tribal groups of Country bound by the Mackay Whitsunday Isaac (MWI) Natural Resource Management (NRM) boundary.

Collectively, we are known as the MWI Traditional Owner Reference Group (TORG) and consist of members of the Juru, Gia, Ngaro, Yuwibara, Koinmerburra, Barada and Wiri people. We are committed to managing, maintaining and protecting our tribal lands and sea within the MWI region. We discuss, develop and deliver opportunities to build capacity within the group and share cultural heritage and environmental values.

As representatives of the seven tribal groups of the region, we seek to develop opportunities to reconnect with Country. We direct and participate in on-Country activities to restore and protect cultural heritage and are charged with the responsibility to disseminate this material to the wider Indigenous community, as appropriate.

The MWI TORG consist of the following:

Juru peoples Country includes lands north of Bowen.
Gia peoples Country includes the mainland adjacent to the Whitsunday Islands, north to Bowen, south to
O’Connell River and east to the Clarke Connor Ranges.
Ngaro peoples Country includes the Whitsunday Islands and the mainland coastlines where they traded with Gia people.
Yuwibara boundary is north to Midge Point, south to Cape Palmerston, west to the Clarke Conner Range and 10 nautical
miles east of the coastline.
Koinmerburra peoples Country includes Pine Mountain (Normanby Range) across to Styx River, north along the coast to
Cape Palmerston, west to the Clarke Connor Range.
Barada boundary is west of the Clarke Connor Ranges, south of Homevale National Park.
Wiri boundary is west of the Clarke Connor Ranges, north of Homevale National Park.

The Traditional Owner Reference Group provides an opportunity for the Mackay Whitsunday Isaac community to work together with Traditional Owners to improve the community’s knowledge of cultural heritage values and NRM issues within the region.

The TORG aims to make the MWI region a proactive leader in cultural heritage and environmental management. The TORG is governed by the Terms of Reference (under review) and is informed by the MWI TORG Strategic Plan 2017 – 2027.

If you would like to join TORG please fill out this form.

If you would like to address the TORG members in their annual meetings, use this form.

Meet the members of the Mackay Whitsunday Isaac Traditional Owner Reference Group

The TORG wish to acknowledge and recognise the contributions made by former members who have passed.

Mackay Torg group 2021.

George Tonga – Yuwibara
I am a Traditional Custodian of our Yuwi Lands (Yuwibara descendant). Our connection is through our Great Grandmother Molly Bargo Tonga. Our boundary is from Midge Point to Cape Palmerston and 10 nautical miles offshore. Our people are very passionate about preserving our land and sea for future generations. Myself and my sister, Veronica Ah-Wang, are involved with the TORG (Traditional Owner Reference Group) and we work with Reef Catchments. Last year we were involved with Healthy Rivers to Reef report card and the launch to the Mackay community and partnerships.
Contact 0458 136 890

Marissa Deshong – Koinmerburra
My involvement with the Traditional Owner Reference Group (TORG) has been from the beginning when I worked for Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services. I have learnt a lot from the other Traditional Owners within this group. Our job is to look after country and the best way to do this is to work together. We share and learn about the culture.
Contact 0455 295 237

Catherine Illin – Ngaro
I am a direct living descendant of the Ngaro people that inhabited the Whitsunday Island and am one of the voices on the spiritual connection that is a link between us and our ancestors. I am an active member of Reef Catchments Traditional Owner Reference Group and am determined to continue the work of my family to protect, preserve and work on my country.
Contact 0474 141 605

Sue West – Juru
I am a direct descendant of the Juru peoples of Bowen. I have been involved as a Juru elder with the TORG for four years. I am privileged to share my knowledge. My connection is also with the Ngaro and Gia peoples of the Whitsundays. I am involved with the schools in Proserpine, Whitsundays, Airlie Beach, and Bowen in which I share my knowledge and participate in all activities/events involving the Traditional Owners. My vision is to teach the young and to hand down my knowledge so that they can appreciate and respect the ways of our Ancestors of the Juru people.
Contact 0409 595 777

Sam Dallachy – Barada
My name is Samuel Dallachy and I am a descendant of the Barada/Wiri tribes. I am a senior Cultural Heritage officer which gives me a voice for our group and how our cultural sites are managed and looked after. TORG is a great opportunity to be involved in the implementation and management of our cultural and environmental resources.
Contact 0497 832 504

Agnes Boyd – GIA
Agnes is very passionate about ‘Looking after Country’ and her main priority is being a major part of future management planning with QPWS, Reef Catchments, Tourism and other agencies in the Whitsunday region. Her focus is the youth, by building their capacity and employment opportunities to work on Gia and country.
Contact 0488 058 624

Corbette Fewquandie – Widi

Proxy – Samarla Deshong – Koinmerburra
I have been an active member of Reef Catchments Traditional Owner Reference Group (TORG) for over ten years and am passionate about sharing my skills and knowledge with fellow Traditional Owner groups to look after our culturally significant sites and culture.
Contact 0474 055 290

Contact at Reef Catchments:

Reef Catchments’ contact – Jamay Deshong