Moree Miss NAIDOC Princesses were in for a spiritual awakening on Thursday as the entrants made their way to Terry Hie Hie to learn about their cultural history.
The excursion to Terry Hie Hie marked the fourth day of the Moree Miss NAIDOC Princesses Program.
Despite a last minute cancellation from tour-guides “Sisters Under the Skin”, trip organiser Blossom Pitt managed to salvage the situation on the day.
“When the girls and I arrived at the site, the parks and wildlife guy just so happened to be there. He had just finished giving a tour to a group of school children and he said he would be more than happy to give us one!”
Terry Hie Hie holds immense historical and cultural significance for the Aboriginal community.
According to Ms Pitt, the carving stones at the site date back thousands of years and offer a glimpse into the life of the Aboriginal ancestors.
“The carving stones were used to make things like weapons or tools, or to sharpen objects. They’ve been there for over 60,000 years,” Ms Pitt said.
At the cemetery, Ms Pitt and the princesses paid tribute to King Billy Balo and Queen Maggie Balo.
Ms Pitt noted that her grandfather Thomas Pitt is also buried at the site, and that he rests among other ancestors who are related to the princesses.
“It was very emotional,” Ms Pitt said.
“Some of the Elders decided to wait on the bus, as a way of showing respect to the spirits. They didn’t want to disturb the cemetery.”
The group emulated the feeling of reverence and kept to the boundary of the cemetery
“We just didn’t want to tread on something that we shouldn’t,” Ms Pitt said.
At the Bora Rings, the group also kept to the outskirts.
“It’s definitely a sacred site that has protocols to entering it,” Ms Pitt said.
“A female cannot enter a male Bora Ring, and a male cannot enter a female one. We weren’t quite sure which ring it belonged to, so we kept a distance.”
Ms Pitt said the Bora Ring was a place used for many reasons, such as initiations or a place of mourning.
While Terry Hie Hie is only a stone’s throw way east of Moree, Ms Pitt said many locals had never visited the site before.
“The women absolutely loved it. They were saying things like we didn’t know about this, or that part of their history. They were so intrigued.”
Ms Pitt said a lack of opportunity was more often than not the main reason for the unpaid visits.
“There should be more tours out there. The Moree community should gain a knowledge about what actually happened. It’s part of our history.”
Ms Pitt thanked Salvation Army’s Jason for transportation to the site, Aboriginal Employment Strategy for the provision of lunch and pastor Henry Weatherall.