A local’s guide to Indigenous culture on the Coffs Coast
Meet Clark Webb, proud Gumbaynggirr man and CEO of Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation. (BMNAC)Born and raised in Gumbaynggirr country, Clark established BMNAC in 2010 with a simple but big dream to ensure that Aboriginal communities, and in particular young people, are two path strong – strong in culture and strong in education.
In his role as CEO, Clark has developed a host of programs to support the knowledge and understanding of Gumbaynggirr language and culture throughout the region. To achieve their goal of revitalising and re-imagining the education of Aboriginal children in the Coffs Coast region, BMNAC developed a collection of award-winning Aboriginal tourism businesses connecting visitors to language and culture.
The Coffs Coast has been home to the Gumbaynggirr people since the dreaming. Throughout the region, there are many sites of cultural significance and deep spiritual connection, which are brought to life through Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours & Giingan Gumbaynggirr Cultural Experience.
Immersive Cultural Experiences
Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours offers an immersive cultural experience on land and water. Wajaana Yaam meaning ‘from this country’ in local Gumbaynggirr language, offers SUP tours at Munim Munim (Moonee), Ngaalgan (Red Rock) and Coffs Harbour, where you can hear traditional stories and language and sample bush tucker as you paddle with the direct descendants of the world’s first stand up paddlers.
Giingan Gumbaynggirr Cultural Experience takes place within the Orara State Forest, immersing guests in the culture of Gumbaynggirr people through stories, songs, language and the uses of native plants. At Niigi Niigi (Sealy Lookout) you’ll also find Nyanggan Gapi (Perfect Coffee) cafe run by BMNAC. All profits from these tourism businesses are directly reinvested into the corporation, creating a long-term sustainable financial income stream for the development of BMNAC education programmes.
NSW’s First Australian/Aboriginal Language school
In 2022, Clark’s dream of a Gumbaynggirr school was realised with the opening of NSW’s first bilingual school of an Aboriginal language on the Coffs Coast. Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom School focuses on Gumbaynggirr language and culture, offering quality teaching based on Gumbaynggirr values and philosophies and strong community engagement. The school currently caters for approximately 50 students in kindergarten to year 4, and in 2024 will expand to include students in years 5 and 6, empowering students to be strong in culture, language, purpose, motivation, education and identity.
The story of the school and its development was named in the top 3 of the prestigious 2023 Global Green Destinations Story Award for Culture and Tradition. You can read more about this story in our Newsroom article Coffs Coast Nominated in Global Green Awards.
Clark’s Top Cultural Picks
Other than the immersive cultural experiences already mentioned, Clark recommends a visit to the following culturally significant locations along the Coast.
Where You’ll Find Clark
When not out on tour, Clark is most often found at home around Sapphire, surfing, fishing and cycling. His favourite spots include White Bluff headland; for views of Sapphire Beach, Split Solitary Island and Red Rock – Ngaalgan; as a top spot for visitors to connect with land and sea.