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Bushtracks Spring 2015

Published 20 Sep 2015

Essential to our work, and to our future success, are strong, committed partnerships.

These come in various forms with a number of private landholders, non‑government organisations, community groups, and government departments. Of these, we have a significant focus on partnering with Aboriginal communities across Australia. Combining the invaluable knowledge of Traditional Owners with non‑indigenous scientific knowledge is a powerful way to ensure that the lands we manage together are conserved for generations to come.

NAIDOC Week in particular is an annual reminder that when we work together we achieve the best outcomes.

As part of NAIDOC Week this year we enjoyed a momentous day as the Budjiti, or Paroo River people, celebrated their native title determination, which covers more than 11,000km² south‑west of Cunnamulla in Queensland. This sets the foundation for future collaboration in this region.

Up on Cape York, Bush Heritage is proud to be partnering with the Olkola to support their Healthy Country planning. A key conservation concern for the Olkola is protecting one of their totems, the golden‑shouldered parrot (Psephotus chrysopterygius), and we're working with them to achieve this. This wonderful animal can thrive with the right support now available through the partnership.

We've officially launched our partnership with the Bunuba Dawangarri Aboriginal Corporation.We've officially launched our partnership with the Bunuba Dawangarri Aboriginal Corporation. Photo Luke Bayley.

Meanwhile, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, Bush Heritage has officially launched its partnership with the Bunuba people, more than 18 months in the making.

The Bunuba hold native title rights to 3,500km² of land north of Fitzroy Crossing. In 2014 the Bunuba Dawangarri Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) and Bush Heritage entered into a formal partnership to deliver a Healthy Country Plan by November 2016 – Bunuba refer to this as their Jalangurru Muwayi Plan. In late July, Bush Heritage, BDAC, Parks and Wildlife and a variety of project partners met at Fitzroy Crossing to welcome new staff and form the project steering committee.

This work runs in conjunction with our Wunambal Gaambera partnership and our support for the Martu people in the Birriliburu Indigenous Protected Area.

We can all be immensely proud of this work, but these achievements come with their own unique challenges.

Principally, how do we make sure that the knowledge and skills we're building today can be carried forward for future generations?

One way we can help is through our Rick Farley Memorial Awards. Each year we award four Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander secondary school students a $500 grant to pursue studies in conservation management. We're currently assessing the 2015 nominations and will announce this year’s successful candidates in the coming weeks. The intention of these awards is to nurture in each student a passion for the bush and encourage them on their education journey. This helps to plant the seeds for a new generation of land managers and environmental partners.


CEO Gerard O'Neil

Gerard O'Neill's signature

Gerard O’Neill, Chief Executive.


More from Bushtracks Spring 2015

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Back from the brink

Ornithologist Dr Stephen Murphy is leading efforts to research the newly discovered population of Night Parrots. Dr Murphy takes a moment to discuss the significance of this work.

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Battling buffel to protect our desert jewel

Bon Bon Station Reserve in South Australia is a true outback marvel, an expansive landscape dotted with shimmering salt lakes, red dune sands supporting mulga trees, open ironstone plains studded with stately myall trees and stunningly beautiful expanses of pearl bluebush. Our challenge is to protect it from invasive Buffel Grass.

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BUSHTRACKS 21/09/2015

The future of Birriliburu country in great hands

Since the Birriliburu Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) was established in 2013, Bush Heritage has been fostering a partnership with the traditional owners – the Martu people – and the Central Desert Native Title Services Land and Community Team. The Martu people were granted native title to 136,000 square kilometres of their country in 2002, the largest native title determination in Australian history at the time.

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BUSHTRACKS 21/09/2015

John’s lasting legacy at Boolcoomatta

It was an emotional moment for Meredith Geyer and her family as they arrived at South Australia's Boolcoomatta Reserve and entered the renovated shearers' quarters. Fixed to the wall beside the fireplace is a stained timber board acknowledging the generous donors and benefactors who have helped to fund Bush Heritage's work at Boolcoomatta. Meredith's father, John Weightman, who passed away two years ago, is the latest name to be included on the plaque.

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Leaders among us

Bush Heritage has had volunteers leading groups of volunteers in the past, but our new program formalises the Volunteer Leader role and offers a more structured approach for people interested in using their leadership skills in this way.

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Ghost of the outback

Bush Heritage Australia is leading the recovery effort to secure one of the world’s rarest birds, the mysterious Night Parrot. In 2013 Queensland naturalist John Young set the ornithological world atwitter after sighting and photographing a bird that has been the ‘Holy Grail’ for birdwatchers, the enigmatic Night Parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis), a bird so rare and elusive that it's bordered on the mythological.

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