Company: Wollombi Aboriginal Cultural Experiences
Location: Hunter Valley, New South Wales
Leanne King lives off the grid on her 160-acre property in the Hunter Valley. Her only contact with the outside world is the NBN satellite on the property, she doesn’t wake up to the radio she wakes up to the birds and she doesn’t watch TV, she watches sunsets. Living off the grid gives Leanne a deeper understanding of herself, her place on Country and allows her to share her knowledge with guests on her tours.
Leanne began her journey 30 years ago when she started coming up to the Hunter Valley, particularly the Wollombi area. Originally this journey was a personal one for Leanne, she was looking to create a cultural connection with her Aboriginality. Over the years this changed as she entered tertiary education, achieving her Master of Arts in Indigenous Social Policy, ultimately becoming a senior lecturer. “I have trouble thinking I am in the tourism industry. I think I'm in the education industry. What I do is share the stories that have been shared with me. Doing that respectfully and paying respects to those that have given me those stories.” Leanne says.
Leanne sees the move from the classroom to taking people out on Country as a natural and essential progression. “In a classroom you can only feel so much. I think what we need to do is change attitudes. And until you can get out on Country and feel Country and let Country talk to you. Can you actually, really learn.” explains Leanne.
Leanne’s incredible knowledge and passion shine when you talk to her. It is this depth and breadth of experience that make her tours so fun and engaging, Leanne tailors each experience to the group. Discovering Country with Leanne will change how you see the Hunter Valley and its Aboriginal culture. As Leanne explains, “It’s about our past. It's about us, as Aboriginal people. It's really hard to put Country into words, but you actually feel Country like a breeze that goes across your face. Actually, stopping and feeling that.”