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Understanding the cultural responsibility of looking after Country

Story Peta-Marie Standley

Fire management training opportunities for land managers on the Cape have increased

As late season fires continued to burn across Cape York, many land managers undertaking best practice savanna burning fire management implemented their early season burns prior to 1 August 2018.

However, sometimes these early burns were not enough to prevent large areas of the landscape from burning in the late dry season.

Words Robyn May | Photo Michael Goddard

The West Normanby distal gully site on Springvale Station is identified as the most important sediment source in the Normanby Basin. Targeted remediation works on active gullies are being implemented to reduce erosion and protect river and Great Barrier Reef habitats.

Words Robyn May | Photo Cape York NRM

Cape York land managers’ efforts to reduce the loss of valuable top soil, and increase grazing productivity, are being supported by a suite of native grass identification tools.

Words and photos Juliana Foxlee

Springvale Station Nature Refuge is located 40km south west of Cooktown. Once a cattle station, the culturally – important property is now a refuge for a diverse range of vulnerable flora and fauna.

The Palaszczuk government purchased Springvale Station in 2016 in a bid to reduce sediment flowing from the degraded paddocks into the Normanby River.

The Queensland government is now investing in a new project which will support water quality outcomes and *Bama livelihoods.

Words and photo Robyn May

‘Manage landscape and all species benefit’ was just one of the many positive comments made during the feedback session following the 2019 Cape York Indigenous Fire Workshop.

This year’s workshop was held in July at Mary Valley and coincided with the school holidays, so lots
of kids were able to attend and learn an array of traditional fire and land management techniques while spending time on Country. This is critical as these children are the land and sea managers of the future.

A generous donation of 50 turtle nest cages by two businesses, Hickey’s Metal Fabrication, and Specialised Brake and Clutch Service, to the Pormpuraaw Land and Sea Management Rangers (Pormpuraaw Rangers) will help the next generation of endangered olive ridley turtles survive.

Staff from the Penrith, NSW - based businesses donated time and materials to the effort which was organised by Specialised Brake and Clutch Service’s Kevin Gavin.

‘Everyone was very pleased to help,’ he said.

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.

This edition of the Cape York Healthy Country Newsletter highlights how the combination of solid planning and good on ground delivery combine to bring about great results.
Sharing knowledge on cultural burning practices and fire management