The keeper of knowledge

5 min·10 Jul, 2022

Orpheus Island Lodge is one of Australia’s most exclusive luxury resorts. But delivering exceptional service and accommodation is just one part of its story.

The other is about celebrating and fiercely protecting the island’s rich indigenous history and delicate environment; and bringing it all to life as a key part of the guest experience.

Jen Truasheim’s job title at the lodge may technically be Head Gardener, but anyone in the know will tell you that ‘knowledge keeper’ or ‘story teller’ are far more accurate descriptions.

Those are official terms that the local Traditional Owners have bestowed upon her; entrusting her and other members of the team with generations of cultural history, stories, and knowledge as one way to help them preserve their culture for generations to come.

Orpheus Island

“It’s an honour and a privilege, and it’s extremely humbling to be a story teller because these stories are traditionally told by elders,”

Jen Truasheim, Head Gardner, Orpheus Island Lodge

“Connecting to country is all about past, present and future. I’m a knowledge keeper. The goal is to teach, inform, inspire and entertain.”

Jen has worked on the island since 2000. Over two decades she’s become a wealth of knowledge about almost every detail of the island’s history and environment.

This makes her a key player in bringing the island’s rich story to life for guests. She and the team take guests on nature tours, telling stories about the indigenous and non-indigenous history, foraging for bush tucker, and in the process creating awareness about the environment around them.

Jen and the team are continuing to build a close relationship with all the Traditional Owner groups of the area, developing a path of acknowledgement, balance, respect and sustainability.

“We are currently connecting with the Nywaigi people from the Ingham area who had close ties with the Manbarra,” she said.

“We’re talking about opportunities to offer our guests tours of areas of their country. They seem excited about the idea because it gives them an opportunity to showcase their culture, their history, their present, and their future.”

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