Willie Gordon, Nugal-warra Elder and Guugu Yimithirr speaker, is passionate about his Aboriginal culture and spirituality. Much of his knowledge was handed down by his father. As a small boy Willie would accompany him on hunting trips, learning about the land, its bush tucker, bush medicines and stories.
Willie was educated in Hope Vale and Cooktown before attending high school in Brisbane. He originally trained and worked as a boilermaker, then moved to the health sector, becoming Chairman of the drug and alcohol program, and developing and chairing the Apunipima Cape York Health Council. Prior to starting his tour business he was working in mental health with Life Promotion in Hope Vale.
Willie launched Guurrbi Tours in 2003, operating on a shoe-string with no government funding. Today Willie’s magical Aboriginal tours are recognised as one of Australia's must-do experiences, and his small business has received a host of accolades, both here and overseas.
In 2007 he received the Gnunkai Best Indigenous Tour Guide Award, and in 2008 was particularly proud to be named Cook Shire’s Citizen of the Year. The Award recognized his contribution to promoting the region and its Aboriginal culture; his work with at-risk youth, and his great contribution to increasing the understanding between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and communities.