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Layers of the land

Alistair Dermer (Reserve Manager)
Published 18 Jan 2016 
about  Boolcoomatta Reserve  

Gnamma hole. Photo Al Dermer.<br/> Gnamma hole. Photo Al Dermer.
Stone flakes discarded from tool making, found near the cave. Photo Al Dermer.<br/> Stone flakes discarded from tool making, found near the cave. Photo Al Dermer.
Remains of an earth oven – a pit, lined with rocks. The rocks have been exposed by erosion of the surface soil. Photo Al Dermer.<br/> Remains of an earth oven – a pit, lined with rocks. The rocks have been exposed by erosion of the surface soil. Photo Al Dermer.
Karen Harrland installing camera.<br/> Karen Harrland installing camera.
Sand Monitor (Varanus gouldii).<br/> Sand Monitor (Varanus gouldii).

Many thousands of generations walked over this land before we arrived to now share the responsibility of caretaking it for future generations.

The Adnyamathana (Udnya mat na) people are the traditional owners of the land the Boolcoomatta lease sits within, and we're proud to be working with them now and into the future.

A recent exploration found a cave with Aboriginal paintings, discarded stone tools and the remains of tools being made. Their innovation and insight is nothing short of inspirational.

At another location on a granite hill we have a large Gnamma Hole (Aboriginal rock well), along with many other water holding depressions. The Gnamma hole is as deep as my arm is long and estimated to hold 200 litres of water.

This is one of thousands that scatter the Australian landscape. They were essential watering points between natural springs for people moving through the land.

The images show a supporter uncovering the capping stones that prevent animals from drinking or falling into the water and prevent evaporation.

Across much of the reserve we have old oven sites (earth pits, lined with rocks), stone flakes and energies that are at times hard to name with modern terms.

We're privileged to be caring for this land and working with the traditional custodians. I'm looking forward to more treasures that the spirits and sand might uncover over time.

Four times a year at Boolcoomatta, 20 motion sensor cameras are installed in established locations around the reserve to monitor the presence and absence of all fauna that passes on established tracks.

The images obtained through these cameras help inform our management, particularly in terms of the movement of introduced species.

Cats and a few pigs have been caught on the cameras in the past and management actions have been put into place to reduce their impacts on the natural values of the reserve.

Yesterday in the first hour of installing the cameras for the first time for 2016, I was fortunate to come across three of the larger reptiles we have at Boolcoomatta – the Sand Monitor (Varanus gouldii), eastern bearded dragon (Pogona barbata) and a large shingleback (Trachydosaurus rugosus).

Each in their own way reminded me of the age of this land, of the resilience of some species, and of the protection Bush Heritage provides them.

All of this would not be possible without our supporters, in this case the Letcombe Family Trust from Adelaide. Thank you.

Stone flakes discarded from tool making, found near the cave. Photo Al Dermer.<br/> Stone flakes discarded from tool making, found near the cave. Photo Al Dermer.
Remains of an earth oven – a pit, lined with rocks. The rocks have been exposed by erosion of the surface soil. Photo Al Dermer.<br/> Remains of an earth oven – a pit, lined with rocks. The rocks have been exposed by erosion of the surface soil. Photo Al Dermer.
Karen Harrland installing camera.<br/> Karen Harrland installing camera.
Sand Monitor (Varanus gouldii).<br/> Sand Monitor (Varanus gouldii).