Caring for Country
The Karrkad Kanjdji Trust works with a number of Indigenous ranger groups, that care for over 50,000 square kilometres of land and sea country.
Each of these groups has their own story, tied together through a common heritage of living on Country for thousands of years, where clan groups lived on their ancestral lands.
Warddeken Land Management Limited operates across 14,000 square kilometres of the kuwarddewardde from three remote ranger bases on the Warddeken Indigenous Protected Area (IPA): Kabulwarnamyo and Manmoyi in Koyek ward, and Mamardawerre in Kakbi ward.
The Warddeken IPA is owned and managed by the Traditional Owners of 36 different clan groups, through a complex system of customary law. Their vision is to have healthy people living and working on healthy Country. They want the management of their land to be in their hands now and into the future.
Each year up to 130 Indigenous rangers are employed to work on a variety of projects including fire management and carbon abatement, weed and feral animal control, rock art conservation, education and cultural heritage management. They combine Indigenous ecological knowledge with western science to manage and protect one of Australia’s most unique environments.
Baradayal Lofty Nadjamerrek AO (Wamud Namok, 1926-2009) is the founder and patron of Warddeken.
The bidbimyo (hand stencil) at the centre of the Warddeken logo is his hand and it reminds Nawarddeken people that it is his guiding hand that led the land management movement in West Arnhem Land.
"His vision leads us into the future".
Bawinanga Rangers, hosted by Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation, was established in 1995 by Traditional Owners of the Djelk Indigenous Protected Area. They manage 200 kilometres of coastline and over 6000 square kilometres of land in Central Arnhem Land, from estuaries, wetlands and rivers, to monsoon rainforests and tropical savannahs.
Their work plays a vital role in keeping the cultures and languages in their region strong, while offering employment and career pathways and sustainable enterprise development opportunities on Country, and working with many partners for the benefit of all 13 language groups.
The Bawinanga Ranger’s Logo embodies the land management approach of the Rangers and their supporting community. ‘Djelk’ (the land in which they protect) is a Gurrgoni word for ‘land’ and ‘caring for the land’.
The fish trap represents the group’s role in bringing Landowners together to make decisions about the land. The waterlily links the earth, water, air and people. The two stems represent the dual laws Bawinanga recognise—Bininj (Inidgenous) and Balanda (non-Indigenous). The lily bulbs and roots represent the many land-owning clans in the area. The dilly bag holds important messages for the people.
Mimal Land Management Aboriginal Corporation manages 20,000 square kilometres of Central Arnhem Land comprising woodland forests, rocky Country, freshwater places and sites of great cultural significance.
Caring for Country and culture is Mimal’s primary goal. Their highest priorities include fire management, controlling invasive weeds and feral animals, saving native species, maintaining strong culture and sustainable visitor management.
There are approximately 300 Indigenous members of Mimal, who control the management of the corporation though the election of the corporation’s nine directors. Mimal is therefore more than just their members. Mimal is working for all Traditional Owners, for all clans and for all the people who live at Bulman, Weemol and Barrapunta.
Mimal’s logo reflects the outstanding and ongoing achievement of Mimal Rangers in bringing back healthy fire management to Dalabon and Rembarrnga lands.
It is based on a painting by Billy Yaluwanga whose mother was a Wakhmarranj clanswoman. His painting shows the fire hawk, Karrkkanj, dropping a burning stick to start new fires as he hunts for insects and lizards.
The Adjumarllarl Rangers, hosted by Demed Aboriginal Corporation are based out of Gunbalanya in West Arnhem Land, approximately 300 kilometres east of Darwin. First established in the 1990s, they were focused on eradicating weeds. Now they manage an area of 10,000 square kilometres including floodplain, savanna woodland and sandstone escarpment, and their scope of work has expanded to encompass fire management, feral animal control and more.
The Adjumarllarl Ranger’s Logo tells the story of two dogs, husband and wife. The couple travelled together for some time, before the wife broke her leg and was unable to continue on their journey. The husband, Adjumarllarl, continued his journey in search of water. As he was digging for water at the closest waterfall he became stuck too. In the image, you see Adjumarllarl looking back at his wife from his rock.
Arnhem Land Fire Abatement (NT)
Arnhem Land Fire Abatement (NT) is an entirely Aboriginal-owned not-for-profit carbon farming business created by Aboriginal Traditional Owners in Arnhem Land to support their engagement with the carbon industry.
ALFA currently supports Traditional Owners to manage five fire projects across an area of over 80,000 square kilometres. This includes four declared Indigenous Protected Areas – the Djelk, Warddeken, South East Arnhem Land and Laynhapuy IPAs – as well as two IPAs currently under consultation– Mimal and Arafura Swamp Rangers Aboriginal Corporation.
Australia’s vast and ecologically intact northern tropical savannas are extremely flammable, and fire is arguably the most important tool that Aboriginal people have for looking after Country.