For thousands of years the permanent freshwater spring, known as Tjilbruke Springs, has been bubbling away in the sand just above the sea's high-water mark.
Long before Europeans first set foot on the Australian continent, the Spring, named after an Ancestral Being, was of both practical importance and deep cultural significance to the Aboriginal community. As the white settlers occupied more and more land, the Aboriginal occupants were forced further and further afield. They no longer camped here in the summer and they no longer drank from the spring. Instead, the new settlers used the spring to water their animals.
George Kingston and his two sons, Strickland and Charles, planted the two Norfolk Island Pines to the north of the spring.
The spring continued to be used, and misused, by the community. Stock trampled the surrounds and fouled the water. A number of attempts were made to bury or destroy the spring.
The spring has outlasted its abusers. It continues to survive; its significance to the Aboriginal community now re-established and recognised. On top of the cliff overlooking both Tjilbruke Spring and the ‘Kingston’ pines, is a monument commemorating the Aboriginal Dreaming story associated with the spring. Erected in 1972, in the spirit of the 1967 Federal referendum granting Aborigines full citizenship rights, it is an important symbol of reconciliation.
The traditional Dreaming story of the springs can be read here.