The experience, situated between Brisbane city and the Gold Coast, is the culmination of a 20 year journey by Elder of the Yugembeh, Yuggera and Quandamooka tribes Eddie Ruska who created a drama and dance program for at-risk youth. Through music, dance and song the children benefited from a sense of pride in their culture. On a tour in New Zealand, Eddie came across Tamaki Maori Village where founder Mike Tamaki had famously used tourism as a force for good - sharing his culture with fellow New Zealanders and international groups.
Eddie went on to join forces with Mike Tamaki to create respect and admiration for Aboriginal culture through storytelling and tourism. The pair are working to replicate the success of Tamaki Maori Village, which is ranked seventh best attraction in the world by Trip Advsior, with the additional layer of a historical re-enactment.
“I’m personally thrilled to be collaborating with talented performers and storytellers to celebrate Aborigional culture. Guests are engaged in the performance gaining a glimpse of traditional customs and 21st-century Australia. Over drinks and dinner, groups engage one-on-one with performers and hear their personal stories first-hand,” explains Tamaki.
“Event planners are now seeking out more authentic experiences that give them a deeper connection to the history of a place. Spirits of the Red Sand does this by giving them a slice of Australian history that includes Aboriginal culture,” he added.
During the interactive production, guests move from set to set as they journey back in time to 1880’s Queensland and experience the trials and challenges as the British and Aboriginal ways of life collide. Told by Jarrah, the only surviving member of three Aboriginal brothers, the show is set within a real 19th-Century Australian town complete with Church, Pub and Indigenous village. The dinner is a chargrilled Australian barbecue with dessert and a licensed bar.
Spirits of the Red Sand won best interactive Cultural Theatre Program in Australasia in the Australian Enterprise Awards this month. They are also the only South East Queensland tourism experience to be endorsed by Tourism Australia’s Discover Aboriginal Experiences Program.