Three years ago, traditional burning was reintroduced to the Lachlan catchment, New South Wales, by botanist, Dr Milton Lewis, community officer, Russell Hill, and Victor Steffenson, through a project with the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority.
After attending one of the project's fire workshops, Larry Towney, now spreads the word about traditional burning regimes throughout the Lachlan Catchment. Larry works further afield, helping individuals and communities adapt traditional burning practices throughout NSW, through partnerships, and the delivery of workshops and practical application sessions.
NSW agencies, including rural fire services, local Aboriginal land councils, Traditional Owners, Aboriginal community groups, Landcare groups, landholders and local government and Landcare are becoming involved with traditional burning practices. Thirty members from across these groups attended an Indigenous Fire Workshop in July, expanding their knowledge of traditional burning through the experience with Cape York mobs' fire regimes.
According to Larry, while the landscape on Cape York is vastly different to his native NSW, burning methodologies are similar, varying only in the need for landscape adaption.
He attests, since colonisation, the country has come under a lot of stress, and is struggling to adjust to the pressures of development, introduced and invasive species, industry, farming and mining.
"The reintroduction of traditional land management practices such as fire regimes can help restore health to the land," he says.
Photo Left: Victoria’s Brendon Kennedy (left) with Aunty Helen Riley (centre) and Pat French (right) from the NSW crew at the film workshop