Land | Life | Culture - landscapes, plants and animals

Family looking at display at Land Life Culture exhibition

Flora and fauna Cultural landscape Acknowledgements Exhibition

The Tweed sits in a World Heritage listed landscape unique for its Gondwana rainforests, one of the most ancient types of vegetation remaining in Australia. This area represents outstanding examples of major stages of the Earth’s evolutionary history, ongoing geological and biological processes, and exceptional biological diversity.

The Bundjalung people of the Tweed Valley have a long and deep association with the land on which their ancestors have lived for many generations. Knowledge is contained in oral tradition, lore and archaeological material. Collectively, this information provides evidence that Aboriginal people in the Tweed Valley developed a rich cultural tradition over a long period of time.

Geological history extends over 360 million years with two distinctive volcanic periods occurring some 200 million years apart. These and the forces of erosion over the past 20 million years combined to create one of the largest erosion calderas, or cauldron like landscape hollows, in the world.

The Tweed Shire boundary roughly follows the border of the caldera. It encompasses environments which have remained relatively stable over the past 10,000 years, providing habitat for key species and helping to preserve one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world.

This fascinating history is explored in the Land | Life | Culture exhibition at TRM Murwillumbah, where you can also hear stories of the landscape told by members of the local Aboriginal community.

Read on for a taste of what you can discover in Land | Life | Culture.

Flora and fauna

The following plant and animal species have been chosen as case studies representing key elements of the Tweed’s biodiversity.

For more information, and to view specimens and objects relating to these species, visit the Land | Life | Culture exhibition at TRM Murwillumbah.

Cultural landscape


Land | Life | Culture shares unique cultural, biological, and geological stories that shape life in the Tweed Valley: stories of places, of people, and of the land.

Local Bundjalung people have lived in this place for many generations, believing that:

'If you take care of country, country will take care of you.'

The stories shared here introduce the extraordinary richness of this environment and of life in the Tweed, stories we hope will inspire understanding and exploration.

NSW Government logo

The project is proudly supported by the NSW State Government. 

Foundation Sponsors

Ian and Teena Fox

Gold Sponsors

Murwillumbah Historical Society

Tweed Heads Historical Society

Silver Sponsors

Friends of the Tweed Regional Museum

Curatorial acknowledgement

The Museum recognises and thanks the many knowledge holders and experts who have generously shared their time and knowledge to guide Museum staff in the development of Land | Life | Culture. The knowledge of many generations and expertise acquired over many years has contributed immeasurably to this project.

Kyle Slabb, Josh Slabb of Banaam Applied Cultural Intelligence

Rob Appo, Community Development Officer Aboriginal, Tweed Shire Council

Mark Kingston, Program Leader, Biodiversity and Ecological Assessment, Tweed Shire Council

Tanya Fountain, Biodiversity Project Officer, Tweed Shire Council

Michael Corke, Biodiversity Project Officer, Tweed Shire Council

Ian Fox, Paleo Environmental Cultural History Consultant

Greg Newland, Entomologist

The Indigenous Cultural Stories Project, supported by the NSW Government through a Community Heritage Grant, enabled the inclusion of Aboriginal perspectives of cultural landscape as part of this project.

Community members interviewed as part of this project: Lorraine Appo, Marcia Browning, Glen Burgess, Veronese Burgess, Samara Gray, Aunty Ruth Green, Coral Lena, Jackie McDonald, Warren Phillips, Uncle Victor Slockee, Aunty Joyce Summers, Aunty Desrae Rotumah, Darlene Rotumah, Uncle Kevin, Joel, Kyle, Josh and Budgerah Slabb, Aunty Dale Williams, Leweena Williams.

The Indigenous cultural perspectives included in Land | Life | Culture have been developed with the support of Tweed Shire Council’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee and the Tweed Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council, and in collaboration with members of Banaam Applied Cultural Intelligence and those community members interviewed.