Bask in nature’s beauty while exploring Bli Bli’s significant Australian South Sea Islander history, with Sunshine Coast Council’s $475,000 Bli Bli boardwalk.
Set along the old cane rail track in the stunning Maroochy River wetlands, the elevated boardwalk links to the significantly, culturally and spiritually leased land by the Descendants of the Australian South Sea Islanders Inc (DASSI).
DASSI President Michael Fewquandie said Australian South Sea Islanders came to the area more than 150-years-ago.
“They worked as slaves in the sugar industry to get that up and running. They were involved in many different aspects of farming, including dairy and cotton,” Mr Fewquandie said.
“They were housed near the boardwalk, on the land DASSI now leases, along with many First Nations peoples who they generally got on with quite well.”
Mr Fewquandie said many people were unaware of the Sunshine Coast’s South Sea Islander history and hoped the new boardwalk and future projects would increase awareness.
“We are seeking acknowledgement that we are a culture of our own, a separate identity here in Australia.
“We are part of the multiculturalism of this country and this project will help people become more educated.”
Mr Fewquandie thanked former Sunshine Coast Council Division 9 Councillor Steve Robinson for supporting the project.
He said DASSI now hoped to work with council to create educational signage along the boardwalk.
Sunshine Coast Council Division 9 Councillor Maria Suarez said she was proud the design and location paid tribute to the region’s South Sea Islander heritage.
“Since the late 1800s Australian South Sea Islanders have had a strong physical and spiritual connection to this land,” Cr Suarez said.
“Council has worked closely with DASSI to bring this project to life and I would like to thank Steve Robinson for his work in this space.
“The boardwalk will provide an opportunity to learn more about the great contributions this community has made to the Sunshine Coast and for people to experience the precious wetlands.”
Cr Suarez said the project contributed to the region’s aspiration of being Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart and creative.
The boardwalk is accessible from Whistler Street, Bli Bli via the existing footpath between Whistler Street and the Bli Bli Village shops on David Low Way.
BLI BLI BOARDWALK FAST FACTS
The Bli Bli Boardwalk is approximately 215 metres long.
It was built in full compliance with all required environmental protections and relevant State Government approvals.
The boardwalk was constructed out of fibre reinforced polymer, a composite material that will not rust or rot.
The mesh decking is designed to allow 40 per cent of natural light to penetrate, allowing marine plants to continue to grow around and under the walkway.
The opportunity for a public boardwalk in this location was identified by Sunshine Coast Council in close consultation with DASSI.
The ecological and heritage aspects of the site created a unique setting to provide access and educational opportunities.