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Before European settlement there were about 5,000 Aboriginal people living in the Brisbane area. The Turrbal people of north Brisbane were the original owners of the country around the Boondall Wetlands. In 1824 a convict settlement was established at Redcliffe, followed in 1825 by a settlement in Brisbane. The Turrbal people called the settlement in Brisbane ‘Umpi kurumba’ which means many houses.

The land, river and its tributaries provided an abundant source of foods and medicine to support  life. The waterholes at Nudgee, Zillmere and Sandgate were major camping and ceremonial grounds for the Turrbal people.