pelican expeditions

indigenous projects


Pelican Expeditions and staff wish to thank the traditional owners of Cape Flattery, Cape Bedford, Lizard Island and the associated sea country, for their kind permission to allow us to use this beautiful site to host the 2008 Pelican Hope Vale Project.

Pelican Hope Vale Project 2008 Background

The Hope Vale Project has been running since 2004 . Each year Pelican heads north to work with Hope Vale Indigenous Community.

We were first invited to work with them in response to a film documenting our work with troubled youth in Victoria's Bass Strait. Since then our program has expanded each year.

The project is managed in close collaboration with Elders from Hope Vale and this year includes turtle and dugong research, seagrass monitoring, digital storytelling, weaving, dance and music workshops as well as sail training, visits to sea country and a recreation of the traditional voyages undertaken in dugout canoes to Lizard Island.

The Captains Log will provide regular updates, photos and observations made by Pelican skipper Garry Mckechnie. Below are entries and links to blogs from other participants. The project is run in partnership with a range of organizations who all contribute resources. This year the major sponsors are ANZ Bank who has supported the project since 2005 and The Indigenous Coordination Centre involved as a major sponsor this year for the first time.



Some of the activities which we offered are listed here!

  • Cultural Skills and Knowledge
  • Sharing Scientific Research – Dugongs, Turtle, Seagrass etc.
  • Kayaking Adventure to Lizard Island
  • Digital Story Telling, Dance Workshops
  • Weave a Pelican, Coxswain Training
  • Hip Hop, MCing, lyric writing, music production
  • AFL and PCYC games and activities

The Captain's Log Hope Vale 2008

You can also get more information about the project through the following links. The Hope Vale Community, through the Indigenous Knowledge Centre, has now set up a WIKI to upload stories and information about the Pelican Hope Vale project.

The Digital Story Telling crew also has a site for reflecting the process of making Digital stories, through Samia Goudie's PhD site.

Interview with Estelle Bowen and Garry McKechnie at ABC North on 12 September 2008. Listen to mp3 1.5MB

Article from the Cooktown Local News 24th September, 2008. download pdf here 1.6MB

ANZ, Pelican Expeditions and The Australian Government's Indigenous Co-ordination Center are the key sponsors for Hope Vale 2008

Others include:
Queensland Government (Departments of: Communities, Environment Protection Agency, Queensland Health)
Hope Vale Shire Council
Hope Vale Life Promotion Program
Sea Swift
Queensland State Library
Cape Flattery Mines Indigenous Community Volunteers

Girls night out on Pelican.

This was Pelican's 1 third project with the Hope Vale Community in Cape York.

Pelican Expeditions wishes to thank the traditional owners of Cape Flattery for their kind invitation to visit and use their land during the Expedition.

Read more in the Captains Log.

Link to story on Message Stick, ABC, 26/11/2007.

Link to story on 7.30 Report, ABC, 23/10/2007.

hopevale projectPelican completed her third project with the Hope Vale Community in Cape York. The project took place over the Queensland school holidays between Sunday the 24th of September to Saturday 7th of October.

The ANZ bank sponsored the project and we were thrilled to have them back on board. Their support enables us to build on the foundation of trust gained in the 2005 project. As in the 2005 project we were working closely with and following the lead of the Community Elders and Hope Vale council. The council pledged “100% support” after the 2005 project.

The project kicked off with two days of short sails from Cooktown. This was available to the whole community especially those who cannot make the Lizard Island trip. We then sailed with two or three boatloads of Community members to the campsite exclusively booked for 7 days. The traditional owners of Lizard Island are the Dingaal people of Hope Vale. This part of the project is about supporting the Elders with their connection to the young people of Hope Vale on traditional country. Four Dingaal youngsters visited the island with last year’s project for the first time in three generations. This year we extended our stay on Lizard providing the opportunity for more people to be directly involved.

The community gathering was also expanded on the mainland. The Elders agreed to do this at Cape Flattery about 15 nautical miles southwest of Lizard Island. This provided an excellent anchorage in the prevailing southeasterlies. Last year in excess of 80 people camped at Hammock Beach, a few miles to the northeast. All had a great time.

Pelican ferried people between Cape Flattery and Lizard Island, taking people for day sails, fishing as well as monitoring nearby Sea Country. The mainland camp was the site for storytelling, traditional food gathering, celebration and recreation. Queensland Parks and Wildlife was there to encourage Hope Vale youngsters to assist in tagging turtles.

Family and friends from Hope Vale are often separated by the necessity of people’s absence at distant schools or jobs, so the beach camp was an anticipated community event in traditional country for some of the participants.


Read more in the Captains Log.