Skip to content

Busy times at the Arafura Swamp

Peter Saunders (Healthy Landscape Manager)
Published 05 May 2017 by Peter Saunders (Healthy Landscape Manager)

A busy time has been had with the rangers from the Arafura Swamp as part of the Bush Heritage partnership with Arafura Swamp Rangers Aboriginal Corporation​ (ASRAC).

The Wanga Djakamirr Rangers, who are the sea rangers for much of the coastline around the swamp, undertook their first patrol for many years.

Time was spent checking turtles and marine debris on the beaches of Howard and Banyan Islands.

They also checked sacred sites and fishing in the Glyde and Woolen Rivers.

A few days later a stray fishing net was found in the Glyde River full of dead fish, not common thankfully, but highlighting the importance of regular patrols.

Next, the Arafura Rangers recently spent time planning the fire season with all the other ranger groups of Arnhem land.

The meeting was hosted by another ranger group in the area, Mimal Land Management, at the lovely Barrapunta outstation. No mean effort by them to feed 120 people for several days in such a location!

The burning season is nearly upon us and this is true landscape-scale burning!

This huge project across Arnhem Land involves the strategic and planned burning of savanna areas during the early dry season to reduce the risk of late dry season wild fires and so save hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon from going into the atmosphere.

Through the not-for-profit partnership organisation Arnhem Land Fire Abatement Ltd these 'carbon credits' produce a valuable income, both creating employment in the region and getting people out on country, caring for and burning country the right way.

On top of their normal work the rangers had to help with a lost crocodile.

After a week of leaving tracks around town it was finally picked up and moved to more remote out of town creek. It was small at 1.5 metres, but it would still hurt!

That was on the back of an excellent visit to Murwangi (where among many other things 10 Canoes was filmed) with Roy, Lindy (Museum Victoria) and Hilary (Bulabula Arts) 80 years to the week after Donald Thomson travelled here - a fascinating collection of over 2000 photographs sits behind his books, which offer an incredible insight into life in Arnhem Land in the 1930s.

... and then there are the amazing sunsets !

Finally, Penny and Alice from Northern Land Council (NLC) Darwin came out from town to work with the NLC woman rangers for a week.

Anna from Arafura Swamp Ranger Aboriginal Corporation ​(ASRAC) helped as always, and an odd Bush Heritage male was allowed along to take the group photos.

Much good stuff was done, from clearing some special sites and also the barge landing, collecting bush food material, and my favourite, protection burning around some outstations!

... and even a little fishing too!

Jesiah with a lost crocodile. Jesiah with a lost crocodile.
Planning helicopter burning flights. Planning helicopter burning flights.
Presenting the plan to other groups. Presenting the plan to other groups.
Roy talking to Hilary (Bula-bula Arts) and Lindy (Museum Victoria) Roy talking to Hilary (Bula-bula Arts) and Lindy (Museum Victoria)
Women Ranger group. Women Ranger group.
Some of the haul collected on sea patrol. Some of the haul collected on sea patrol.

Related stories

BLOG 06/03/2020

Developing a digital keeping place

We spent the week with the Arafura Swamp rangers and Yolngu and Bi Traditional Owners starting to build their digital keeping place (database) to help manage, protect and utilise the wealth of knowledge people have for Country.

Read More

BLOG 26/08/2019

Using iMovie to tell stories of Country

Arafura Swamp Indigenous Rangers are telling about their work with video they capture on smartphones and tablets. After adding descriptive subtitles, voiceovers and music, they can finish their reports in an hour or two. The ease and speed of production and the degree of artistic control over the content would have been impossible only a few years ago.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 06/06/2019

My happy place (Mali Djarrbal)

Djïḻpin is the Goyder River, which flows to feed the Arafura Swamp and then the saltwater. If you bring your eyes and see what it looks like, you will feel the country with your mind and soul.

Read More

BLOG 10/04/2019

Monitoring in the Arafura Swamp

Imagine a room of 20 people, speaking many different languages, talking about Country. There's laughter and movement. Stories are told and connections made. Key ideas are written on sticky notes and arranged on floors and walls. New, collective stories emerge.

Read More

BLOG 31/10/2018

Biodiversity survey at Malnyangarnak

How do you handle an aggressive snake? How do you dig a pitfall trap in ground baked solid by the Northern Territory dry season? And how do you make the perfect cup of camp tea? These were just some of the challenges encountered in an exciting week spent surveying biodiversity around Malnyangarnak outstation with the Arafura Swamp Women Rangers.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 27/03/2018

The Arafura Swamp Rangers

Bush Heritage and Traditional Owners are proudly working together to return the Arafura Swamp region to good health. Stretching across 70,000 hectares of Arnhem Land is one of northern Australia’s largest freshwater ecosystems, the Arafura Swamp or Gurruwiling.

Read More

BLOG 05/05/2017

Busy times at the Arafura Swamp

A busy week was had last week with the rangers from the Arafura Swamp as part of the Bush Heritage partnership with Arafura Swamp Rangers Aboriginal Corporation​ (ASRAC). In particular the Wanga Djakamirr Rangers, who are the sea rangers for much of the coastline around the swamp, undertook their first patrol for many years checking turtles and marine debris on the beaches of Howard and Banyan Island.

Read More
Th Goyder River.


Arafura Swamp Partnership

We're supporting the Arafura Swamp Rangers Aboriginal Corporation as it develops governance and administrative capacity. We've worked extensively on helping to develop a Healthy Country Plan for the region.

Read More
{{itemsInCart}} Items - {{formatCurrency(grandTotal)}}