Talaroo Hot Springs are located between Mount Surprise and Georgetown in the heart of Queensland’s untouched Gulf Savannah and are an unmissable part of the Savannah Way – one of Australia’s great road trips linking Cairns to Broome via an epic 3700km journey.
Journey time from Cairns by road is 4 ½ hours and all roads are accessible to conventional vehicles, trailers and caravans. The final 10km (12 minutes) from National Route 1 (Gulf Savannah Way) to Talaroo is unsealed.
Ewamian Peoples’ Country extends through the Gulf of Carpentaria savannah lands in the upper Gilbert and Einasleigh River catchments and takes in the townships of Georgetown, Forsayth, Einasleigh and Mount Surprise.
Ewamian Country is rich with culturally significant sites including rock arts, scar trees, artefacts, occupation sites, bora grounds, stone groovings, and ceremonial grounds. Most rock art sites are found on the sandstone escarpments of the Newcastle Ranges and near water sources. Scar trees and artefacts are found right throughout Ewamian Country as are ceremonial and bora grounds. Stone groovings have been found in the rivers and creeks.
In the late 19th Century during the expansion of European settlement, Ewamian People were dispossessed of their lands and forced to live under the Protection Act, needing permission to marry, travel or work. Many Ewamian people were taken off their land to missions or reserves, but others were able to forge good relations with station leasees and find work as stockmen and domestics on pastoral properties on country– the only way to retain a connection to their ancestral lands.
Ewamian People who remained on the Georgetown Reserve until the 1980s conducted ceremonial practices, corroborees and traditional burial practices. Language was spoken but sadly did not survive. Ewamian People are now working with linguists to rebirth the Ewamian language which is derived from the Agwamin society.
Talaroo Station, a 31,500 hectare property on the Einasleigh River, was purchased on behalf of Ewamian people in 2012 through the National Reserve System and since that time has been managed by Ewamian Rangers as an Indigenous Protected Area and Nature Refuge.
The determination of Ewamian Native Title in 2013 and acquisition of Talaroo Station finally gave Ewamian people the ability to live and work on country; to maintain a physical and spiritual connection to their lands, waters and traditional culture; and to allow future generations to walk in the footsteps of their ancestors.
Talaroo is a living cultural landscape for Ewamian people, rich with dreaming stories and centred around the healing Hot Springs which form a lifeline through the ages. But it also represents an aspiration to showcase Ewamian hospitality and share a deeper reconciliation between people, culture and place.