The Spirit of Churaki
  • Thu 12 Apr 2018
  • Main Stage, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast
  • Festival 2018
  • Free
Music World premiere

The Spirit of Churaki

An epic music production inspired by the story of Churaki; an Aboriginal man heralded as the Gold Coast’s first surf lifesaver.

Churaki, a Goodjingburra man, performed the first documented act of lifesaving on the Gold Coast in 1911. This was one of many daring rescues he carried out in the early 1900's as the surf bathing craze took hold.

A heroic story, largely unknown, The Spirit of Churaki honours a rich lineage of saltwater people, a spirit of generosity, a deep connection to country and cultural obligation.

Starring an extraordinary line up of legendary Australian musicians under the musical direction of Brian Ritchie (Violent Femmes) and cultural
collaborator Kyle Slabb (Banaam) with evocative visuals by renowned artist Vernon Ah Kee, this production is a musical collaboration united by the spirit of the surf.

Presented as a full night of entertainment, The Spirit of Chuarki rides the perfect wave between traditional ceremony, the ancient sounds of Aboriginal language and compelling music theatre, closing with a cyclonic set by Australian surf rock legends, The Break.

Session times:
Ceremony: 7pm
The Spirit of Churaki Concert: 8pm
The Break: 9.15pm

Commissioned and produced by Bleach* Festival and City of Gold Coast.

Thu 12 Apr 2018
Thu 12 Apr, 07:00pm - 11:00pm
Main Stage, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast

-27.9979378, 153.4306901

Surfers Paradise Esplanade
Surfers Paradise QLD 4217

Accessibility information

Information on accessibility at Festival 2018 is currently being updated. Please contact [email protected] if you have any specific questions in the interim.


Kyle Slabb, Lead Artistic Collaborator and Cultural advisor 
Brian Ritchie, Musical director 
Vernon Ah Kee, Visual artist and Production design 
Tim Baker, Writer and Researcher 
Rhoda Roberts AO, Dramaturg and Rehearsal director
Libby McDonnell, Costume design
Dan Black, Lighting design

Core Musicians: 
Fred Leone, Didgeridoo, Ukulele, Vocals 
Veronique Serret, Strings 
Sam Pankhurst, Bass 
Greg Sheehan, Percussion 
Leah Flanagan, Vocals 
Lawrence English, Sound Design 

Musicians: Kyle Slabb, Josh Slabb, Kaleb Slabb , Jurrulah Slabb, Colin Usher 

Guest Musicians:The Break featuring Rob Hirst, Jim Moginie, Martin Rotsey (Midnight Oil), Jack Howard (Hunters & Collectors) and Brian Ritchie (Violent Femmes).

Claudio Kirac, Photography + Film

Thank you to the Elders and community who participated in the project, so generously making extraordinary cultural and artistic contributions to the work

Presented by
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