This edition of the Cape York Healthy Country Newsletter highlights how coordination and working locally can make a big difference across Cape York.
The article on the coordinated burning program organised by our Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator, Andy Hartwig, emphasises how supporting landholders to partner across tenure and property boundaries has delivered our largest early burning program to date.
We’re back on track for 4–6 September 2020 at Mount Carbine
This is a fantastic event for rural and remote women, so update your calendar. Women from both the Northern Gulf RMG and Cape York NRM regions are invited to come along. Loads of updated and new info to share during the days’ workshops, and great fun to be had at night—particularly the cocktail hour on the first night!
Head over to Northern Gulf’s Events page on Facebook to book your place @northerngulf
Normanby catchment ‘Peer to Peer Grazing Group’ activities may have stalled during the coronavirus travel restriction period, but its Focus Farm initiative is going strong.
The Focus Farm initiative aims to assist land managers to achieve their goals with the assistance of a peer support group of farmers, and specialist service providers.
Thanks to funding from a combination of programs, Andrew Hartwig from Cape York NRM recently coordinated aerial burning across a number of Cape York properties.
The early burns were designed to reduce fuel loads and connect fire breaks on a landscape-wide scale, and were carried out by Cape York NRM in partnership with South Cape York Catchments and Cape York Weeds and Feral Animals Inc.
Recently, grade 12 student Ella Hartwig took on a volunteer position with Cape York NRM to help deliver a coordinated burn project on Cape York. Here’s her record of her experience. Ella’s dad Andrew, known to us all as Andy, is Cape York NRM’s Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator (RALF). Andy coordinated the multi-property early burning program in partnership with South Cape York Catchments and Cape York Weeds and Feral Animals Inc.
We want the Cape York Healthy Country Newsletter to include you—the Cape York community.
There are some very talented story tellers, artists, photographers, plus wonderful land manager projects, across the Cape community—and we have hundreds of readers who’d love to read, or see, your work.
Or maybe your school or community group has something exciting to showcase, or an event coming up that you’d like to promote more widely. They may be innovative online events!
Story by Charmaine Hill | Photo provided by Jessie Price-Decle of South Cape York Catchments
The Cooktown community is passionate about keeping our beaches clean. For many years, different Cooktown organisations have held volunteer beach clean-ups. For the past seven years, South Cape York Catchments and Tangaroa Blue have worked together to continue holding beach clean ups, and collect as much important data as possible. Cooktown’s North Shore beach is a rubbish hotspot, last year SCYC, Tangaroa Blue and Cooktown’s eager volunteers dragged 1.9 tonnes off.
Normanby Station’s Vince and Cliff Harrigan recently visited 12 primary schools in Victoria to share information about culture, country and life in Far North Queensland. The ‘classroom connections’, organised by Aboriginal cultural tour company Culture Connect, occurred over two weeks in March across Melbourne schools, and gave Victorian kids a rare opportunity to learn about Aboriginal culture and the unique features and history of the Balnggarrawarra homelands on Cape York.
2019–2020 has been a big year for the Biodiversity and Fire Program. After a number of staff changes, the team now consists of Biodiversity and Fire Program Manager Kerri Woodcock who is based in Cairns, and Biodiversity Officer Dr Helen Penrose, and Community Engagement Officer Joey Dix who are both based in Cooktown.
With the support of Cape York NRM, the Western Cape Turtle Threat Abatement Alliance, a collective of five western Cape Indigenous Ranger groups, spent the 2019 nesting season (June – September) monitoring seven beaches, managing feral pig numbers and installing turtle nest cages to protect eggs and hatchlings.
WCTTAA’s end of season meeting for 2019 was held in Cairns in December with special guest Threatened Species Commissioner Dr Sally Box in attendance.
Change and challenge is life on the land, and Garry and Lee-ann Stonehouse have been up for both. They moved from their property in a drier region of Queensland to Cape York in 2017, where they were assured of more regular and predictable rainfall due to the Cape’s annual wet season.
‘Where we lived before, rain was always the topic of conversation—mainly the lack of!’ Garry said.
Garry and Lee-ann now own and manage Jungle Creek, an 18,000 hectare grazing property in southern Cape York, where they raise breeding cattle.
Cameron and Michelle MacLean have owned Merluna Station, a north western Cape York grazing property, since 2004. Cape York NRM’s Andrew Hartwig started working with the couple in 2019 as part of the Healthy Farming Futures project which supports graziers in the Cape’s western flowing catchments to improve ground cover, soil condition, and vegetation biodiversity in order to reduce erosion and improve the water quality of the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Cameron MacLean spoke to Cape York NRM about what this means for Merluna.
Have we returned to normality? Not sure we know what ‘normal’ looks like, but what we do know is that our project delivery teams can get out and about a little more now to work with the broader Cape York community.
Directors met mid-June via teleconference and have caught up via video link a few times to make sure that the organisation continues to progress, despite the fact that some on ground delivery was late starting.