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Guurrbi's 10th Birthday Album

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An album celebrating the 10th Birthday of Guurrbi Tours in Cooktown, Far North Queensland.

An album celebrating the 10th Birthday of Guurrbi Tours in Cooktown, Far North Queensland.

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  • 1. This is the story of Guurrbi Tours…which started as a dream of Willie’s inthe 1990s, and was brought to reality withthe help of Judy – a PhD student, wholater became a partner in the business.The deal was we’d work together tolaunch Guurrbi, look at what worked alongthe way, then share our findings so otherscould learn from our experiences.Here are some of the highlights - andfriends we met along the way.CELEBRATING GUURRBI’S 10TH BIRTHDAYGuurrbi Tours, Cooktownwww.guurrbitours.com
  • 2. 2001 – I’VE GOT AN IDEA!Willie (4th from left) sharinghis country & his tour ideawith Judy (right) & visitors
  • 3. 2002 – LISTENING, LEARNING, TALKING, PLANNINGWe worked together for a year before launching Guurrbi Tours.
  • 4. 2002 – FIRST TRIP TO THE ROCK ARTWillie guiding Judy & Alberta from the Hope Vale Art Centre tosee the rock art sites at Wangaar-Wuri for the first time.
  • 5. 2002 – THE WONDERFUL BIRTH SITEWillie & Alberta at the Birth Site. What a beautiful place! Wedidn’t want to leave.
  • 6. 2002 – FILMING ‘AUSTRALIAN STORY’“I’m on cloud ten!” Sharing his country with strangers – and theiramazing reaction to the experience – gave Willie the confidence tocontinue with his plans.
  • 7. 2001 – TAKING ‘THAT PHOTO’The wonderful Kerry Trapnelltaking the photo of Willie westill use today.
  • 8. 2002 – KERRY’S PHOTO
  • 9. 2002 – SHARING THE STORIESWillie & two of his grand-children at Wangaar-Wuri.
  • 10. 2002 – THE LONG WALKIt used to be a looong walk to the rock art sites…
  • 11. 2003 – CLEARING THE NEW ROAD…then Willie came to an agreement with the lovely Bredlakefamily who let him drive through their land.
  • 12. 2003 – BEING A TOURISTWith Mason’s Tours, learning how others do it.
  • 13. 2003 – ‘GUINEA PIG’ TOURSThe lovely Sandick & Nutt family from the USA were our firstguinea pigs & gave feedback on the tour
  • 14. 2003 – CREATING THE GUURRBI LOGOJust look at the size of Judy’s old computer!
  • 15. 2003 – STARTING ON A SHOE-STRINGScott from Pam’s Place in Cooktown agreed to be Guurrbi’sbooking agent…
  • 16. 2003 – STARTING ON A SHOE-STRING…and Roscoe, Cooktown Travel, provided the transport.
  • 17. 2003 – WILLIE WITH MIKE HINTZThe wonderful Mike Hintz from Oz Tours booked a groupseries with Willie before the business had even launched.
  • 18. 23 MAY 2003 – GUURRBI LAUNCH, NATURE’S POWERHOUSEWe were told to expect only a handful of people at our officiallaunch, but more than 120 turned up!
  • 19. 2003 – SELLING OUR WARESJudy & Willie (right) at an early trade show in Sydney.
  • 20. 2003 – FIRST TOURSIn the Rainbow Serpent Cave
  • 21. 2004 – OZ TOURS’ POSTERWe were SO proud to seeWillie on the Oz Tours’poster!
  • 22. 2004 – ABORIGINALTOURISM SYMPOSIUMJudy’s University, La Trobe,flew us down to Melbourneand held a symposium forus to present our researchfindings.
  • 23. 2004 – OUR FIRST BUSWe LOVED our first bus,even though it needed allWillie’s ingenuity andexpertise to keep it inworking order.
  • 24. 2004 – OUR FIRST LOOWillie’s brother, Bertie, withhis beautifully designedemergency loo.
  • 25. 2005 – FIRST RADIO INTERVIEWThe ABC’s Country Hour celebrated their 60th Birthday inCooktown.
  • 26. 2005 – FIRST FILMING FOR TVWillie being wired for sound before filming with Troy Cassar-Daley & Ernie Dingo for Queensland Weekender.
  • 27. 2005 – FIRST CELEBRITIESTroy, Willie and Ernie in the Food Cave.
  • 28. 2005 – FIRST (and only) PRIME MINISTERWillie with PM John Howard in the Great Emu Cave.
  • 29. 2006 – CYCLONE MONICAWillie is with his customer in the field on the left, by-passingthe mess caused by Cyclone Monica.
  • 30. 2006 – THERE’S ALWAYS A SOLUTIONThe Cyclone closed the road, but the tours carried on!
  • 31. 2006 – OUR FIRSTBAMA WAY MAPAn Aboriginal Journey fromCairns to north of Cooktown,showing some of the specialstory places along the way.
  • 32. 2006 – OUTBACK CAFEWillie with Mark (Black)Olive filming for OutbackCafé. His mud crabs wereun-for-gett-able…
  • 33. 2006 – RECONCILIATION AWARDSWillie & Judy (now a partner in the business) all scrubbed up inBrisbane for the Premier’s Reconciliation in Business Awards.
  • 34. 2007 – LAUNCHING THE BAMA WAY PACKAGESAboriginal Journeys with Guurrbi, Walker Family Tours, KukuYalanji Cultural Habitat Tours & Adventure North Australia.
  • 35. 2007 – WE’RE PUBLISHED!Our co-authored book chapter which summarises Judy’s PhD thesis.
  • 36. 2007 – WILLIE’S FIRST BOOKSharing the rock art stories in print.
  • 37. 2007 – GNUNKAI AWARDWillie wins the nationalGnunkai Tour Guide Award.
  • 38. 2007 – A GREAT HIDDEN EXPERIENCEAustralian Traveller magazine names Willie’s Rainbow SerpentTour as ‘One of Australia’s Great Hidden Experiences’.
  • 39. 2007 - WE START PRIVATE TOURSThe demand begins for Private Tours.
  • 40. 2008 – THE NOTE THAT JUDY SPOTTEDThis note on the back of a Visitor Satisfaction Questionnaire promptedJudy to put Willie’s name forward for an Australia Day Award.
  • 41. 2008 - COOK SHIRE CITIZEN OFTHE YEAR AWARDWillie very nearly didn’t attendthe ceremony as he’d beenplanning to go fishing!
  • 42. 2008 – AUSTRALIA DAYA teary-eyed Willie making hismoving acceptance speech.
  • 43. 2008 – A NEW ROADNo more mud! A beautiful new road to theGuurrbi Meeting Point.
  • 44. 2008 – A NEW LOOThe tardis has landed...
  • 45. 2008 – A NEW CITIZENJudy with Cook Shire Mayor, Peter Scott, on the day shebecame an Australian.
  • 46. 2008 – LAUNCHING THE COOKTOWN DISCOVERY FESTIVALWillie entertaining everyone – including the politicians –during his Welcome to Country.
  • 47. 2008 – A MOST ELEGANT CUSTOMERWillie with Quentin Bryce, then Governor of Queensland.
  • 48. 2008 – WHAT A LOVELY LADY!A quiet moment with Quentin Bryce, now Australia’sGovernor General.
  • 49. 2008 – OUR FIRST TRIPADVISOR REVIEWWe were THRILLED to get our first review on TripAdvisor – andwith 5 stars!
  • 50. 2009 – COOKTOWN HOSTS AUSTRALIA DAY LAUNCHThe National Australia Day Council & guests on tour withWillie, before the press arrived.
  • 51. 2009 – A QUIET CHAT WITH ADAM GILCHRISTThis might look like a quiet get-together in the Great EmuCave, but…
  • 52. 2009 – PRESS SCRAMBLE…this is what was happening outside.
  • 53. 2009 – DAWN EVENT IN THE RAINWillie’s message of Reconciliation was televised to around2.5 million people.
  • 54. 2009 – WHAT A PICTURE!Publicity shot of Willie with Adam Gilchrist & Lee Kernaghanon Cooktown Wharf as dawn broke.
  • 55. 2009 – AND YES, IT WAS STILL RAINING
  • 56. 2009 – WILLIE IN TO BATBatsman Willie, Adam Gilchrist wicket, and Lee Kernaghanfielding. (Willie scored a duck.)
  • 57. 2009 – QUEENSLAND’S TOP TEN MUST-DOSGuurrbi makes No. 7 in RACQ’s Queensland 150 Must Dos.
  • 58. 2009 – A TOP 20 AUSTRALIAN TOUROur Rainbow Serpent Tour was named “One of Australia’s 20Top Tours” in Australian Traveller magazine.
  • 59. 2009 – WEBSITE AWARDOur website wins the very first Indigenous TourismBiodiversity Website (Jury) Award.
  • 60. 2009 – GUURRBI & WAITOCWe host Indigenous Tourism operators from all over Australiato share what we’ve learnt.
  • 61. 2009 – AUSTRALIAN OF THEYEAR NOMINATIONWhat an honour to benominated for Australian ofthe Year.
  • 62. 2009 – WILLIE IN JAPANESEOver the years we have hadan enormous amount ofmedia coverage, both athome and overseas, but thecover of this JapaneseLiving in Cairns magazineis a particular favourite.
  • 63. 2010 – ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF OZGuurrbi is shown alongside Uluru as one of 13 Australianhighlights in Stefan Loose’s Australien Der Osten Travel Guide.
  • 64. 2011 – RIVERDANCE WITHBEN SOUTHALLWillie with best-job-in-the-world winner, Ben Southall,showing that two peoplestriking the classic one-leggedAboriginal stance look a littlebit Irish…
  • 65. 2011 - WERE PART OF THECURRICULUM!We love working with DrSharon Harwood of JamesCook University, who bringsher post-grads each year fora tour and a Q&A sessionwith us. Judys thesis is onthe courses reading list.
  • 66. 2012 – JUST FOR KIDSOver 100 people on the Just For Kids Charity Trail came on tourwith us over several days. They were SO well organised until…
  • 67. 2012 – THIS GLAMOROUS LIFE…there was a slight delay whilst Willie fished out some car keysfrom the bottom of the portaloo...
  • 68. 2012 – OUR SECOND BOOKWillie’s second book “My Family & Other Stories”
  • 69. 2012 – RECOMMENDED BY TRIPADVISORWe earn a Recommended by TripAdvisor sticker! A big ‘thank you’to all our customers who take the time to write such lovely reviews.
  • 70. 2013 – VOTED TOP TRAVEL BLOGWe feel very honoured to be in the same company as some ofthe world’s great travel bloggers.
  • 71. 2013 – BUT BEST OF ALL ……is hearing from our customers. Here’s a “Hello WillieGordon” from the Janssen Family at Machu Picchu.
  • 72. 2013 –BEST OF ALL…Troy Cassar-Daley continuesto carry the memory stoneWillie gave him all thoseyears ago – and it’s been allover the world. Here’s aphoto he tweeted to usrecently.
  • 73. 2013 – CHILDREN’S CAVE AT WANGAAR-WURIHundreds of other little stones, painted over the years by kids (of allages), are left in special cave – now an attraction in its own right.
  • 74. ][p2013 – WHAT A BIRTHDAY PRESENT!This arrived by email on the morning of our 10th birthday.An amazing end to a wonderful ten years.