THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLE OF THE WESTERN CATCHMENT
The protection, preservation, maintenance and acknowledgement of Aboriginal identity, culture and heritage is vitally important to the Aboriginal people of the Western Catchment.
Working as groups and individuals they have formed numerous partnerships and signed off on memorandums of understanding with local, State and Australian Governments and their agencies in caring for the Catchment. These agreements aim to ensure a joint approach to the preservation of Aboriginal heritage in the Western Catchment of NSW.
The Western CMA employs Aboriginal Community Support Officers who maintain strong relationships with the Aboriginal communities of the Western Community. They assist local Aboriginal people to take advantage of the training and funding opportunities available to improve their local environment.
Some of the many initiatives undertaken include:
- Formation of the Aboriginal Reference Advisory Group to formally coordinate the input of Aboriginal communities into natural resource management planning activities in the Western Catchment. They are working towards the completion of the Knowledge Capture Project to collect, store and make available traditional ecological knowledge from the language groups of the Western Catchment.
- Restoration of the Old Brewarrina Mission Wetland by the Ngemba Billabong Restoration and Landcare Group. As well as being an important wetland, this is an area of cultural significance with evidence of multiple living sites, hearth sites and scar trees. This project came second in the Indigenous Landcare category of the 2009 NSW Landcare Awards.
- A three-day canoe trip along the Barwon-Darling for school students, providing the opportunity to learn not only about the environment but also the Aboriginal history of the area. The students were from Brewarrina, Bourke and Goodooga.
- Revegetation works along the Darling River by members of the Kurnu-Baarkindji Landcare and Cultural Management Group as part of the Brewarrina to Bourke Demonstration Reach project. Now with specialist revegetation skills, the Group has been engaged by the NSW Department of Primary Industries to undertake more work along the River.
Above: Western CMA’s Blackie Gordon at the Old Brewarrina Mission Wetland
Below centre: Members of the Western Catchment Aboriginal Reference Advisory Group.
Below centre: Joel McHughes, Ray Bennett, Feli McHughes, Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt and Phyllis Miller OAM Convenor of the Natural Resources Advisory Council, Bruce Bennett and Jason Ford at the 2009 NSW Landcare Awards.
Below right: Ethan Johnson of Brewarrina takes part in the educational canoe trip.