Willie Gordon, Nugal-warra Elder and Guugu Yimithirr speaker, is passionate about his Aboriginal culture and spirituality. Much of his knowledge was handed down by his father. As a small boy Willie would accompany him on hunting trips, learning about the land, its bush tucker, bush medicines and stories.
Willie was educated in Hope Vale and Cooktown before attending high school in Brisbane. He originally trained and worked as a boilermaker, then moved to the health sector, becoming Chairman of the drug and alcohol program, and developing and chairing the Apunipima Cape York Health Council. Prior to starting his tour business he was working in mental health with Life Promotion in Hope Vale.
Willie launched Guurrbi Tours in 2003, operating on a shoe-string with no government funding. Today Willie’s magical Aboriginal tours are recognised as one of Australia’s must-do experiences, and his small business has received a host of accolades, both here and overseas.
In 2007 he received the Gnunkai Best Indigenous Tour Guide Award, and in 2008 was particularly proud to be named Cook Shire’s Citizen of the Year. The Award recognized his contribution to promoting the region and its Aboriginal culture; his work with at-risk youth, and his great contribution to increasing the understanding between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and communities.
Gentle and inspiring translator of his country. Willie redefines conciliation, and I would want every child and adult to spend some time in his company. It was a privilege to accompany him on this cultural journey, in the place where his family lived. Willie was able to hold the interest of the adults and children in the group. He does not merely show us the paintings, he tells us their stories. And in doing so, he gently reminds us of our true history, and what it is to be Australian.Chris, Melbourne
When we first met, Willie asked us to listen to the birds. What do you hear? What does that mean? From that point on for the next four hours he pointed out details we would have missed such as a wallaby tail mark in the dust, passed on stories of the area and offered us the opportunity to reflect on what is important. As Willie said “Life is a gift and love is the glue to hold us together”. Highly recommend this trip.Gordon
Inspirational and very moving. We’ve been travelling in Aus for nearly 12 months and I can honestly say this is the best thing we have done. Willie is an inspiration: calm, impassioned, knowledgeable, compassionate, charismatic, a gifted interpreter. We learnt so much about his culture and how it fits into modern society, and the problems involved. Thank you Willie for being prepared to share of yourself and being prepared to ask the questions others rarely do. Before we set out we wondered if this would be worth the money. Don’t even question it.Sussana, United Kingdom
A most insightful, generous and amazing individual. The world would be a much better place with a few more Willie Gordons. Just to add to the other comments we took our three children (5,2 and 7 months old) on the tour and Willie more than accommodated for them with snacks, games, magic, activities and stories for them. Visited November 2014Kerrling, Wodonga