Celebrating NAIDOC week 2016

Monday 04 July, 2016

We're proud to celebrate this year’s NAIDOC WeekSonglines: The Living Narrative of our Nation – which helps to recognise and respect the rich history and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Our Aboriginal partners

Our Aboriginal partners
Our Aboriginal partners
As the oldest continuing cultures on the planet, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ Songlines record the travels of their ancestral spirits who 'sung' the land into life. These Songlines are recorded in traditional songs, stories, dance and art – and they carry significant spiritual and cultural connection to knowledge, customs, ceremony and lore.

For us, learning about our Aboriginal partners’ customs allows us to bring together modern science with ancient knowledge, thus creating the best conservation management of traditional lands and waters. It’s both a biological and cultural necessity, and we invite you to learn more with us, as we explore and celebrate these ancient dreaming stories.

Updates from partners around the country

We work in partnership with many Aboriginal groups throughout Australia. Below, you can learn more about the stories and ceremonies of just a few, and how they connect people to Country, and Country to people.

Nardoo Hills Reserve: Fire stories, ceremonies and management – Victoria

Earlier this year, representatives of the Barapa Barapa, Dja Dja Wurrung and the Wautherong people from across Victoria were involved with a CFA led burn at the Trust for Nature’s reserve at Quambatook, less than 100km north of our Nardoo Hills Reserve.

Barapa Barapa elder Ron Murray plays the Didge during smoking ceremony.
Barapa Barapa elder Ron Murray plays the Didge during smoking ceremony.
Before the Dja Dja Wurrung participated in the burn, the welcoming ceremony was led by Barapa Barapa elder, Ron Murray. Welcome to Country ceremonies are an ancient tradition, practiced around Australia, that welcome visitors and ward off bad spirits. Our Victorian reserve manager, Jeroen van Veen, described how smoke was drawn over the body, from hands to feet.

“It was very special. To see everyone come together was a great achievement. The significance of the day was not lost on most of the Aboriginal people present and uncle Ron emphasised this sentiment by opening the day with a dreaming story,” says Jeroen.

We plan to take knowledge from this protective burn, to Nardoo Hills Reserve and continue to work closely with the traditional owners, the Dja Dja Wurrung. Read the full story.

Pullen Pullen Reserve: Artefacts and rain-dancing corrobborees – Queensland

Representatives from the Maiawali people – Judith Harrison, daughter Tammy Meers, and nephew Darryl Lyons – were recently on country at Pullen Pullen Reserve in Queensland.

Together, they were identifying, GPS plotting and relocating Maiawali artefacts – where a fence line will be installed to help protect the Night Parrot’s only known habitat.

Darryl explains how traditionally, the Maiawali men were known as rainmakers, and were called upon – to come from Springvale and Diamantina – by the neighbouring tribe, the Pitta-Pitta, to sing rain.

“The Night Parrot’s feathers were a major part of the traditional corrobborees, and were used in our ceremonial headdresses. So it’s not only important now to protect the Night Parrot’s habitat, but also to protect Maiawali culture,” says Darryl.

Warddeken Partnership: On Baby Dreaming Country – Arnhem land, Northern Territory

In Arnhem Land, a biodiversity survey was conducted in Baby Dreaming Country, a significant cultural site in the northern region of the Warddeken Indigenous Protected Area (IPA).

One of the Traditional Owners of Baby Dreaming Country, Conrad Maralngurra, with his family at a survey site.
One of the Traditional Owners of Baby Dreaming Country, Conrad Maralngurra, with his family at a survey site.
At a full day’s drive from Darwin, and covering 1.4 million hectares of natural and cultural treasures, Baby Dreaming Country is part of the Ngalngbali clan estate.

As a place that had never been surveyed before, Bush Heritage ecologist, Allana Brown, noted how different habitats and trapping methods provided a good general baseline of biodiversity for the area.

One site in particular proved great habitat for djorrkkun – the reclusive Rock Ringtail Possum (Petropseudes dahli). With the careful placement of cameras up on rocky ledges, the team got photos of not one, but two, rock possums on the first night.

Warddeken Junior Rangers show Northern two-lined Dragons caught in pitfall traps..
Warddeken Junior Rangers show Northern two-lined Dragons caught in pitfall traps..
“This was an excellent confirmation that had all of us grinning from ear to ear for quite a while. It was a real privilege to help out and to see the skills and knowledge of experienced Warddeken rangers being shared with landowners, their families and school kids,” says Allana.

Read the full story

Thank you to all of our Aboriginal partners for continuing to share your knowledge, culture and stories with us.

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