Wingecarribee’s Aboriginal community had an exciting opportunity to take part in a cultural burn within Gibbergunyah Reserve last weekend. The burn was conducted by Gundungurra Traditional Owners and our First Nations community in partnership with Yarrabin Cultural Connections Fire Practitioner Den Barber and his team, also supported by the NSW RFS and Wingecarribee Shire Council.
“This is a significant moment in reconnecting the local First Nations community with Cultural Fire Practices to restore valuable cultural knowledge, share understanding of the benefits for a healthier environment, and contribute to preparedness for future fire,” Den Barber explains.
“The Gundungurra Traditional Owners of this land and our local First Nations Community welcomed this opportunity to partner with Yarrabin Cultural Fire practitioners, the RFS and Wingecarribee Shire Council on this pilot burn. It has been a positive experience with very encouraging outcomes for all involved.”
The pilot will serve as a case study to assist in paving the way for more Aboriginal-led cultural burns to occur in Council owned or managed bushland reserves. Such a program would help to maintain biodiversity while providing the local Aboriginal community with more opportunity to heal and restore country through cultural fire and land management practices.
Wingecarribee Shire Council facilitated and coordinated the planning and delivery of this first cultural burning workshop.
This project has been jointly funded by the Australian and the New South Wales Government’s Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund. A grant was secured by Council to develop a Cultural Burning Strategy in response to the 2019-2020 Black Summer Bushfires. The funds were used to engage a skilled cultural burning practitioner to prepare the strategy and deliver workshops as a learning opportunity for local Aboriginal people interested in undertaking this important work.
The learnings from this weekend’s pilot cultural burn will inform the planning and delivery of further burns and workshops within our reserves.
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