It’s like noughts and crosses, but played by young hunters in pre-colonial Australia.
Visitors to Toowoomba’s Cobb+Co Museum, part of the Queensland Museum Network, would be familiar with the floor game Burguu Matya, a traditional Australian Aboriginal activity from the Wiradjuri people.
In a bid to share this important piece of Australian history with more people, Cobb+Co has joined forces with the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) to bring the game to a digital platform.
Thought to be traditionally played with stones, the game can be likened to a more strategic tic-tac-toe or simplified chess.
USQ has officially handed over a browser-based version of the game developed by the University’s Office for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching.
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor Helen Partridge said the initiative was a perfect example of USQ contributing to community.
“USQ delivers high-quality education and research around the world, but our ties to local community are the backbone of our University,” Professor Partridge said.
“We want to share USQ’s culture of excellence and innovation in learning and teaching, as well as our expertise in developing exceptional education resources.
“This particular collaboration will make a difference to the lives of the many young learners who visit Queensland museums like Cobb+Co.”
Cobb+Co Learning Officer Tony Coonan said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture had become a major focus of school visits.
“One of our favourite parts of school visits to our Binangar Gallery is when they play Burguu Matya,” he said.
“Burguu Matya is not only significant because of its connection to our First Peoples, but it also requires strategic and divergent thinking.”
Mr Coonan said putting the game online allowed for a fantastic follow up when students returned to school or home.
“It allows the game to reach out into the wider community for people of all ages to enjoy,” he said.
“This will hopefully encourage more people to visit or revisit our Aboriginal Gallery and develop a greater understanding of Indigenous culture.”
To learn more about Cobb+Co Museum, visit https://cobb.qm.qld.gov.au/. The browser-based version of Burguu Matya can be played at https://burguu-matya.herokuapp.com.
USQ’s Zoe Lynch and Shane Gadsby (front from left), who developed and animated the browser-based version of the game, with Queensland Museum's Amy Boulding and Cobb+Co's Tony Coonan.