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Illawarra Mercury

New Bulli centre opens path to Aboriginal story

Date: 27/04/2009
Words: 308
Source: ILL
          Publication: Illawarra Mercury
Section: News
Page: 13
VISITORS to the new Southern Gateway Centre at Bulli Tops could be forgiven for thinking they have run into a Yowie.

The Jumbulla Aboriginal Discovery Centre, housed in the $11 million building, will feature a "Hairy Man" cave and children's show to teach young people about the indigenous folk tale.

Last week, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service granted Jumbulla $65,000 to fund a 300m-long escarpment walkway, which will link the new tourist stop to the nearby Cliffhanger Restaurant.

The high-tech walkway will include an audio system, triggered by motion, which will play the birdsong and animal noises of the bush, as well as the frightening growl or howl of the "Hairy Man".

The walkway will also include mock animal tracks and scats, as well as bush tucker plants.

Project manager for the walkway, Chris Noel, said long before the Yeti and Big Foot, the Aboriginal people of south-eastern Australia reported seeing the Doolagal or Hairy Man, who was over 2.6m in height with big feet and a muscular body covered in hair.

"We are encouraging schools to come and visit the centre because it fits well with their compulsory activities studying modern Aboriginal society," Mr Noel said.

Work will begin on the walkway once ownership of the land is determined. It is hoped it will be completed next month.

The Jumbulla Aboriginal Discovery Centre was first dreamed up by the late Mary Davis - fondly known as Aunty Mary - in 2001. She wanted people to leave the centre with an appreciation of what it's like to walk in the steps of an Aboriginal person.

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