This week Healing Country kicked off our engagement journey with Aboriginal communities, a journey aiming to connect with different communities and understand unique areas of interest with hopes to find ways to work together. Led by Healing Country’s Aboriginal Liaison team Heidi and Grace and accompanied by post-doctorate researcher Mohammad, the team were excited to head off to Ngowanjerindj (Gnowangerup) – home of the Mallee fowl.
Here, we met with Robbie Miniter from Gnowangerup Aboriginal Corporation who introduced us to Aunty May and two Gnowangerup rangers. We met at the Gnowangerup Aboriginal Corporation Cultural Heritage Centre, where we were given the opportunity to learn some history about Ngowanjerindj and some surrounding towns in the Great Southern region. Following this, Robbie and the rangers led us to their nursery and shed, showing us a variety of local species being grown for restoration of degraded boodja.
This took us on the road, to locations where Robbie and the rangers had begun planting of local species in heavily degraded patches of select agricultural land – with support of agriculturalists in which Robbie has maintained a relationship with. In between stops, Robbie and Aunty May showed us some local bush tucker, including an opportunistic hunt of Karda (Goanna) successfully hunted by Robbie and the rangers. Robbie led us to a number of salt affected areas in farming land, one of which, with permission from the farmer, the rangers had begun experimental planting of species to understand which survived the harsh conditions. This led to a number of conversations with our team to discuss areas of particular interest to the ranger group regarding their current work.
The team thoroughly enjoyed their first engagement road trip and thank Robbie, Aunty May and the rangers for having us, teaching us, showing us around and most importantly, sending us home with a Yonga tail, enjoyed by Grace’s family.