Rock shelter on Mawonga country. Photo Lawrence Clarke.
Mawonga is a 22,350-hectare property in central-western NSW, 95km north of Hillston. For Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan people it's a significant part of their traditional Ngurrampaa (Country).
In the past Mawonga was an important place for ceremony, part of a young novice's journey through initiation, for hunting, family and clan interaction. Today it continues to be an important place for teaching, learning and connection for the Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan people.
Regular cultural camps are held there to support the reclamation and passing on of cultural knowledge – strengthening the Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan people's connection with ngurrampaa.
Mawonga Station protects significant cultural and natural heritage and adjoins both the Yathong and Nombinnie Nature Reserves. In combination this represents one of the largest reserves of mallee in NSW (over 190,000ha). Mawonga is also located in the Cobar Peneplain bioregion – a landscape that's under-represented in Australia's National Reserve System.
Inspecting a mallee fowl nest during a fauna survey on Mawonga country. Photo Lawrence Clarke.
Mawonga's large areas of old-growth mallee are home to the nationally vulnerable malleefowl, and the large areas of woodland support threatened woodland dependant birds such as the grey-crowned babbler and hooded robin. It has numerous small caves, rock shelters and art sites that are a physical reminder to Ngiyampaa people of how their relatives and ancestors lived and travelled.
In 2009, the Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan Traditional Owners, through their representative organisation the Winangakirri Aboriginal Corporation, had Mawonga purchased on their behalf with funds from both the Commonwealth Government National Reserve System program and the Indigenous Land Corporation.
The Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan Traditional Owners have subsequently worked on ecological monitoring and cultural heritage surveys, upgrading the infrastructure, harvesting goats to reduce their impact and training programs to support community members' in managing country.
Mawonga is now a self-sufficient base at which the community can hold cultural camps and meetings, and deliver training workshops.
Setting small mammal pit traps during a fauna survey. Photo Lawrence Clarke.
The Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan people have developed a Mawonga management plan that will guide their management activities over five years. It will support the declaration of Mawonga as an Indigenous Protected Area. They're working in partnership with a range of organisations to manage the land, including re-introducing a traditional burning program that focuses on the health of the malleefowl habitat. Bush Heritage is one of these partners and has worked with the Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan people in the property purchase, conducting ecological assessments and developing the Mawonga management plan.
We acknowledge and celebrate the significant contributions Ngiyampaa people make in looking after country and conserving Australia's biodiversity!