Ramindjeri elder Mark Koolmatrie has Indigenous tourism vision for Kangaroo Island, Fleurieu Peninsula

Mark Koolmatrie has a vision to boost tourism on the Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island.
Mark Koolmatrie has a vision to boost tourism on the Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island.

Ramindjeri elder Mark Koolmatrie has been very proactive in promoting the rich Indigenous history of the Fleurieu Peninsula and now plans to extend that vision to Kangaroo Island.

Mr Koolmatrie is in the process of gaining funding for audio-trails around the Fleurieu Peninsula, which promotes the local Indigenous history of the region.

"Once this gets off the ground we then hope to have this initiative take off all around Australia," Mr Koolmatrie said.

"I am meeting with Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie in February and hoping to have her support. We only need $35,000 to get it done and I know this will happen with state and federal support for tourism on the Fleurieu Peninsula."

But now Mr Koolmatrie's attention is directed at supporting tourism on Kangaroo Island in the aftermath of the horrific bushfires.

"Kangaroo Island has experienced tragic circumstances, but this will be an opportunity to re-think how our Indigenous history can be preserved, presented and promoted on the Island," he said.

"Not many know of the history of Indigenous people on KI. We have the potential to educate this proud history, as there are many sites of special significance."

Mr Koolmatrie is a positive voice and believes the story telling will be a benefit to tourism on Kangaroo Island and for Indigenous people to become involved with the SA Tourism Commission.

"We need to work side by side with each other. It is about farmers, business owners and Aboriginal people all working together. Everybody must be on the same page as we have something special to show the world," Mr Koolmatrie said.

"Audio-trails promoting Indigenous sites that have been there for centuries and telling the Dreamtime stories that go with it, is my goal on Kangaroo Island. Creation stories need to be told. It is about sharing our history and helping the community understand that we are all in this together to promote South Australia."

Mr Koolmatrie also has the ear of State Premier Steven Marshall, who is supportive of the tourism potential of sharing Indigenous stories and what it can offer South Australia.

Among all the visionary projects, Mr Koolmatrie has also set up his own business: The Tribal Expertise Facility.

"It looks at us sharing knowledge and teaching the old ways in a new world," he said.

Mr Koolmatrie is passionate about Aboriginal history and how all races can work as one to promote the story telling for national and international tourism.

He is chair of the Original Southern SA Tribes Indigenous Corporation and the Heritage Tourism Alliance, so Mr Koolmatrie is a busy man, who backs up a lot of talk with double the action.

"I am constantly looking at Aboriginal heritage throughout South Australia, but we look at all forms of heritage, which includes built heritage and maritime heritage," Mr Koolmatrie said.

This story Ramindjeri elder wants Kangaroo Island's Indigenous stories shared first appeared on The Times.