Yalingbila Bibula

Case Study



Yalingbila Bibula tells the intersecting stories of Quandamooka culture, science, conservation and research.

The scheme houses the skeleton of a 15-metre long adult male humpback whale, which came ashore in 2011, in the midst of Native Title negotiations between Traditional Owners, the Queensland Government and other local stakeholders.

In a partnership between the University of Queensland, the Queensland Museum and the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC), the whale skeleton was preserved and will soon be displayed in a shelter overlooking the ocean at Minjerribah.

What did we do?

The Yalingbila – or whale – is one of the most important moieties for the Quandamooka people and its arrival was treated with reverence.

Our role was to lead the consultation with QYAC, and in particular their Land and Sea Committee, to develop the brief, design inputs, orientation and siting for the skeleton and shelter that would celebrate the story of Yalingbila and Quandamooka cultural authority.

The site has sweeping views across the water towards the annual migration of humpback whales;  the angle of the whale’s head and eyes is positioned to acknowledge its passing relatives. The site is also used by the University of Queensland to conduct the world’s longest running whale count.

What was our impact?

Once complete, the project will do two important things:

First, it will provide a rich connection to Quandamooka culture, which has been practiced in this location for more than 20,000 years and continues to flourish and evolve today. The site will support gatherings, dance, teaching and learning and the exchange of knowledge.

Secondly, it will provide a place for the public to learn more about whales through state-of-the-art interpretative elements, including an ocean tethered microphone allowing visitors to hear whales as they travel past.

The skeleton is currently in Canada in the care of Cetacea (with whom TFA worked on the New Museum Project (LINK)) , the world’s leading experts in the preservation of marine animal skeletons. Yalingbula will soon return to Minjerribah to be housed in a shelter that matches its cultural and scientific importance.