For Simone Phillips, working at Mt Mulligan Lodge is a lot like putting together a great big puzzle.
As the lodge’s Tours and Experiences Manager, when she’s not taking guests out for guided tours around the outback property and its surrounds, she’s doing her bit to help piece together the intricate story the land has to tell. And it’s still a work in progress.
“My life’s work has brought me to a place that encapsulates all the things I am deeply passionate about. But the story and how it is told is a balancing act based on respect,” she said.
“The history of Mount Mulligan is an asset. If we protect, invest and connect to all the multi-layers of this area, we are preserving its identity in all its forms and most importantly we are acknowledging its deep and rich ancient past,”
Simone Phillips, Mount Mulligan Lodge
“Mount Mulligan, or Ngarrabullgan, is of extremely rich and diverse cultural value. Visitors travelling to these areas are fascinated by all its complexities and intrigue.
“So, there’s a lot of value in representing this history in a true and respectful manner. It’s a wonderful educational tool which can bring about a greater understanding, appreciation and deeper meaning to our guests’ experience at the lodge.”
Part of Simone’s work thus far has been beginning to form strong relationships with the local indigenous community. The Djungan people are known as the Traditional Owners of Ngarrabullgan but there are many other groups who are notable in the area.
“I’m in the process of opening up conversations with the Traditional Owners, but this will be ongoing and takes time to form their trust and state my intentions,” she said.
“There is a big story to be told of the multi-layering of history that has taken place over a short period when we talk about European settlement, and the ancient history of the First Nations people.
“Collaborating and working alongside the Traditional Owners, pastoralists and conservationists will only enhance the guest and staff experience and do the place justice. Helping to piece it all together is my honour, privilege and passion.”