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(generated from captions) THEME MUSIC Hello, I'm Miriam Corowa, welcome to Message Stick. of special programs This is our second week on caring for country. that a deeply spiritual connection It goes without saying defines Australia's first peoples. to country is likely to be vital And that Indigenous knowledge of climate change. in reducing the worst effects This week's five short films confirm is a shared responsibility, that protecting the environment knowledge shouldn't be overlooked, and that Indigenous peoples' and used to care for our environment. but celebrated, On the 29th of April, 1770, sailed in to the bay. a big white bird thought was a big bird, On board what the Aboriginal people was Lieutenant James Cook. was the first day of contact. And that have continually been removed From that day, our people and disconnected. from this site, trying to reconnect This project is very much about back to the site. the Aboriginal people trouble every day, These boys were getting into weren't going to school. When I first met these boys, they would really have to make I felt that a good future in a regular job. a lot of changes to have finished school. First I was in Year 10, not a good certificate. Got a pretty- Well, I was probably with Centrelink, and just bumming around La Perouse. and then Dan offered me the job I was on Centrelink doing nothing and I was like - yeah. was about, just National Parks. Didn't know really much what it is what some people might say The Towra Team is an Aboriginal Green Team. CHAINSAW BUZZES they've got going for us young ones It's like a program to get us our certificates to educate us, and help us with the National Parks. and trained and skilled It's employed for this area. a lot of our young male and female, of bush regeneration works. 'They do a lot is working on now The project the Towra Team the Kurnell Dune Forest.' is to restore a threatened species, 'We're trying to get it back to the point where it was in 1770.' when Captain Cook actually arrived 'That vegetation was documented England by Sir Joseph Banks and samples were taken back to naturalists onboard the Endeavour.' and Daniel Solander, the two that were here originally, 'We're collecting only the plants only from this area.' and we're collecting the seed is to not only 'Part of the boys' work plant those plants but know them. make sure they're the right species Know what they're putting back, that belong here on the site.' got to find a melaleuca nodosa Just at the moment, you've and put that one in... out into the bush 'Peggy, she would take us that shouldn't be there. and show us some of the weeds as well as planting seeds.' So, we do a lot of weeding, 'We don't want to damage the plant, but we want to get a lot of seeds.' the plants and stuff, 'She would show us the seeds. which ones we can store in the bag, we would plant out on the hill.' They're the ones 'On the weekends, usually Sundays, in the hot weather, when it's the busiest the boys do boat patrol.' of Towra Island. We've gotta take care We've gotta educate people, on certain areas of Towra beach. because they're not allowed We've gotta hand out pamphlets they aren't allowed on there, and tell them why and just patrol the island. ruins it. Make sure no-one goes on there, in the Towra Team I've been involved for say, close to two years. and the wider community It's all interconnected, in the cultural stuff we do. is all involved experience for everyone. And it's a good learning It's good employment opportunities. Alright, boys. we're going to cut it down. We've found a nice straight one here, But we're going to use this, OK? spears out of it. We're going to make some for me to be outside I think it's much better Aboriginal cultural stuff and be involved in in regards to caring for country and our heritage, and learning our customs and passing that knowledge down. of some bush medicine. Here boys, here's some good examples It's angophora sap, which is used as a penicillin for toothaches. that they've developed here 'The skills their potential for the future are going to make just absolutely wonderful.' my own people and to help out, It's good to do something for just care for country. It gave me heaps of confidence about being with other people and that. around job sites, work sites, Makes me feel proud just knowing your local area. that you're looking after 'I can't get over it, I can't get over the change in them. respect for country, they've shown most of all respect for their elders, of how we used to live here.' and they've got a sense of who they are 'They're very proud when they're part of the Towra Team. with now is a doorway. What we provide them to many different places, A doorway that could open up many different job opportunities. it's in their hands.' The future is theirs, altogether to protect.' 'We have 17,000 acres for the community for one, 'The rangers work to help look after country, for the traditional owners here, and look after culture as well. The TOs own this country, and the rangers on how to manage it. and they direct myself on a regular basis It's important that we sit down just to hear their thoughts, in the right direction. make sure we're heading full employed ranger women. I work with eight full-time, report to AQIS. We do marine surveying which we rubbish that we find on the beach. Things like nets, See, these aren't just driftwood, these are pieces of wood off boats. one of them boats with people. You know, might be off Or them illegal fishermen. 'We're the only ranger group on the western coast of NT that actually patrols this region. So, we're specifically looking for foreign fishing vessels. We're monitoring commercial fishermen and their practices, we also work with a lot of government departments in regards to fisheries, NT weeds.' Mimosa is an introduced shrub that came in from South America. We're coming close to full eradication of mimosa in our area. And hopefully today we'll put the final spray on it. Mainly this big patch out the back. Yep. There's buffalo roaming there. We've done all down this side, here. Just really good as far as we're concerned, to have people who are quite competent and capable of managing this weed. After we do a marine debris survey, typically we would come to a mangrove area like this, and the ladies will then collect up traditional food from the mangroves. Things like coobali, cootali, cookay, my favourite. We're up to about 22-23 rangers, now. Women and men, and even green corps - young up and coming rangers, training them as well. We get those young girls in, mix them up with the older ladies, take them out on country. We collect a lot of thithimambe, which is sand palm fibre. Take it back to town and distribute it to the old people at the rehabilitation centre, for doing the weaving. 'It's a very much a lot of negotiation with the traditional owners before we can burn anything at all.' 'Burns are done early, cultural sites are avoided.' The rangers are trusted and well-known, and they do a really good job so the people for this country trust the rangers to be out there looking after their country. They're a lot prouder to come to work because they work under conditions that everyone in Australia works under. They get paid the same rate of pay that people on the East Coast would be getting paid.' 'Started off very slow. At first, there wasn't a lot of support. But now, a lot of people are working together and can see the value in training up Indigenous people to manage their own country.' BIRDS CALLING My name is Tanya Cutmore, I'm the manager for Banbai Business Enterprises, and we're at Booderee National Park. Banbai Business Enterprises manages Wattleridge IPA. Wattleridge IPA is the Indigenous Protected Area Program. And we're an Aboriginal-owned and operated organisation. We came down to Booderee National Park because the young people are really interested in fire management and we wanna keep that interest keen. So, yeah, we brought them down here to get some insight on fire management. The two main things that we'd like to show you is a recent burn that we did. And in going there, we'll actually be going to a burn that we did the year before that got away. So it's interesting to see that bit of bush that's had two years to regenerate - and a very hot fire in parts - as opposed to a much more controlled burn which was done a couple of weeks ago. MAN: I think the main difference between our park here at Booderee and other areas is it's a jointly managed park and it's Aboriginal land. So we have a real input of what areas and how they're burnt. Fire management is a tool that we can use and it's traditional knowledge that has been practised thousands of years ago. So we've learnt a lot of information from the way they participate in fire management in the park. They do sectional burning and we're hoping to take that back to Wattleridge. Wattleridge shows evidence of Aboriginal occupation and we need to protect that area. We also have cave paintings and so we'll do burns around there to protect the artwork that's there. I travel on a bus every Monday to Guyra from Glen Innes - it's about 40 minutes drive - and stay there for the full week and then go home of weekends to see the family. It's pretty hard actually. Like, you know, being away all week and then spending two days with the family. It's good to learn different stuff every day. And I like working in the bush, you know? And looking after sort of stuff like the sites and all that, Aboriginal sites and all their artefacts and that, we find. MAN: I think fire management in a traditional way, it's totally different in the areas you go. From our visitors that are here now, to our Indigenous brothers up in Arnhem Land and Kakadu, the fire regime is totally different. We have some special plants that we have in this area and they're not as common as others. Particularly some rainforest species. They're not fire-tolerant and pretty much, if fire goes through them, they're destroyed. We actually identify where these species are in the park and we'll actually go out and do pre-burns and take fuel away. Wattleridge is host to many endangered plants and wildlife. We have the black grevillea and the glossy black cockatoo. The glossy black cockatoo likes casuarinas and we need to maintain that. Casuarinas don't like fire so we need to manage that so their environment is sustained. We need culture burns so we can sort of regenerate the earth we've got. Like, it's important for managing our culture, puts us back to our own roots. It helps our community, it helps our environment, it helps our endangered species. The young kids, we need them 'cause I reckon it's better that every generation knows everything there is about cultural burning or even burning. Protecting cultural heritage is similar to protecting other assets. We try to avoid fire impact. So we may burn around specific sites, if there's wildfire coming through, to protect those sites from wildfire impact. MAN: Pretty much all areas are unique in their own way. I've spoken to some of the younger boys that are down and I've just really hit home on them about the importance of training and keeping it up. When we learn stuff from here and back at home, I can, hopefully, teach that to the younger generation coming up so they can learn how to control fires as good as we may be able to. WOMAN: If you don't teach your kids now, you're never gonna pass down anything. That's of real importance to me, like, just learning about what the old people and that used to do with their time they had there and... Yeah, that's what I like doing. Yeah. TRIBAL MUSIC (WOMAN SPEAKS INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE) They used to eat warru. It's a long time ago, but not now. People just started to notice that there weren't many warru around anymore. They couldn't catch them anymore. They didn't see them out on the hills. WOMAN: They worried about the warru. Some animals must be here today. If we're not seeing them out there, then we're gonna lose them. and we've lost other species out here before. (WOMEN SING IN INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE) MAN: I look after an initiative called Working On Country. People started getting interested in working on warru six or seven years ago. Working On Country provides them with the platform to extend that work, to apply more expertise from Western science and to be properly resourced and paid for the good work they're already doing. WOMAN: About 10 years ago, we started doing some baiting around this area. We bury them so that the crows don't take the baits. We only want the foxes taking the baits. We're doing a lot of different monitoring with the warru. We go out and we do some radio tracking. And we go and monitor the feral animals, see what's around, see what their population size is like. (WOMAN SPEAKS INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE) The old ladies that work on the warru project have a particular knowledge about where animals are and why, the sorts of things that threaten them and the stories associated with those animals. And so the transfer of cultural knowledge and, in particular, traditional ecological knowledge, is extraordinarily valuable. The elders, they really wanna pass on their knowledge to the younger ones. They don't wanna see their knowledge just being lost. They've been doing this work for about 10 years and they feel like it's time for them to sit down now, time to maybe retire or at least reduce their work.

WOMAN: I wanna look after them animals, bush animals and feed them. In the communities, there aren't many proper jobs around and I think people like coming out onto country. I have old people telling me that they have young people healthier than they've ever seen them, they've increased school attendance rates, we have people starting to send kids to boarding school on the back of the money they're starting to earn. People shouldn't underestimate the work that Indigenous people are doing on their own land. It is in fact a benefit for all Australians, not just them. The warru is a threatened species. It could possibly be lost in the next 10 years if we don't look after it. (WOMEN SING IN INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE) (MAN SINGS IN INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE) Now that we've got a voice, we intend to use it. We've got the people now from Macquarie University. Initially, our project started off looking at bush medicines, particularly working with the elders. We used to often eat the young tender ones. Oh, OK. What was there thousands of years ago, what they was living off these plants and stuff and how they utilised them, oh, it just blows you away. MAN: I go out into country with elders, we pick the plants. Walking around and having the elders point out which ones they can utilise to use. And having that knowledge is a plus. MAN: We identify them according to Western sort of scientific methods. Took them down and analysed them and all that and found out what properties they had in them for our bodies and why they help us out and that. It's intended to acknowledge community ownership of these type of plants. So basically, anything that we publish or write up gets published in the name of the community. A lot of people of my age group are willing to see that happen and we want to see it happen. Because, in the past, it didn't happen. Then we take local medicinal products back to the university. Good to see you, Jo. The value of traditional medicinal knowledge is just incalculable. Passing the knowledge down to the students, using it more in the curriculum, you know, we need to hang on to it, we need to know about what's happened in the past. MAN: This project aims to give the Aboriginal kids a leadership focus in science. It's something that they really enjoy and, in fact, they're very talented at and yet, traditionally, they haven't been seen as having a great role in science. Macquarie were the instigators of the project, really. They come along with demonstrators and help train our Aboriginal students. We train them in the hands-on activities. And then they actually run science shows. I feel more confident learning about science and talking in front of people, and going up and learning stuff about the uni. We actually find that the compounds that are normally causing the medicinal properties are present in a plant in quite small amounts. I think it's forged really close links between the community and the university, which is encouraging young people up here to consider university studies. We're also trying very hard to develop relationships between the young people and the elders through running activities at the school. MAN: They basically come along and participate as though they were our Year 7 students. Wet your hands and crush it up in your hands and it's just like a natural soap. I find it good 'cause they find it interesting and they're quite surprised of knowing what we can do and what we learn at school. For them, a lot of them anyway, it's a whole new world. WOMAN: Oh, wow! I've never done nothing like this. when I was going to school, science. I never picked that subject, so... (LAUGHS) BOY: When we show the elders all the experiments and that, they seem pretty surprised from what we can do and what we know. We feel very proud. We can see the elders are proud of us too. Oh! MAN: I see a lot of young kids actually come out on excursions and it's good to see the arrangement of elders and young 'uns just generally together, instead of separated all the time. WOMAN: When I come out on country with elders, I find it quite interesting, like how they used to live and what they did. As an Aboriginal girl, it's good to know both cultures, like, my side, Aboriginal culture, and going to school and getting educated. MAN: If we can keep it documented and put it to paper and all that, it's there for the younger generation when they come through and want to learn that. MAN: I think it's given a lot of people within the community a real sense of pride. That's the first time that that type of institution has actually come up here and just said, "Well, we wanna learn from you." In the past, before, when I was a nobody, I used to go in the back door, you know, with the head down there. But these days now with the degree, I go in the front door. University is the outcome. We've kept that door open for the other younger ones to come in, you know? You're making it easier for them. I really hope you enjoyed the Caring For Country series. Indigenous environmental insight is invaluable. And next week's program continues that theme with a profile of Aunty Fran. Frances Bodkin is an Aboriginal woman with degrees in climatology, geomorphology and environmental science, and a truly holistic approach to understanding our Earth. A story not to be missed. If you'd like to watch this week's show again, then go to: You can click on the 'have your say' tab and leave us a message there too. See you next week. Closed Captions by CSI - David Fanner & Matt Whitmore (Sings) # Travel Oz # Travel Oz! # There are 13 impressive gorges just like this one in the Nitmiluk National Park, home since time immemorial to the Jawoyn people. The Jawoyn people, their rock art, and these impressive gorges in this episode of Travel Oz. Hello, I'm Greg Grainger. Ahead, exploring the Nitmiluk National Park by jet boat... ..and helicopter. Deep gorges, wildlife aplenty, friendly welcomes. Travelling the Grand Pacific Drive down the New South Wales South Coast. High adventure with the two Tims. And checking out Dubbo and beyond. Squatters' homesteads. Exotic wildlife. (Sings) # Travel Oz! # The next leg of our marathon road trip across Australia to the Top End is taking us from Tennant Creek to Katherine. So far, we've encountered plenty of obstacles. Sheep. Willy-willies.

Donkeys. But what about this? A game of tenpin bowls blocking all of the road in the tiny settlement of Daly Waters. Passing tourists are invited by the publican to roll the bowling ball down Daly Waters' main street. It's a very uneven road, adding to the challenge of getting the bowls anywhere near the pins, let alone hitting them. I can't believe this - I drive up here and you guys are playing tenpin bowls on the main road. What happens when you get cars coming through? They have to wait till we're finished. Righto. Well, you go first. Alright. You've done this before - lots of force. No, no, no. Alright. Away you go. Give it a go. I watched you, Lindsay, I saw you get a bit of speed. Plenty of speed bumps there. Straight through. Straight through.

And you reckon it'll deviate either way but in the end it'll come good. You gotta get the right rock. Fairly quick. Oh, nearly again. Lindsay, the publican, sets up his second ball for a direct hit. Aaargh! Split! What next? And then it's my final turn.

This time. Yes. Yes. Hooray! That'll do. Well done. So Lindsay has blocked the road with his game of bowls but what about the traffic? Australia's most remote traffic light, you reckon?

What's the closest one? To here? Would be Katherine, I think, about 270km away. Fair enough. And, mate, stuck on red. We leave it on red on purpose, yeah. We change it for Anzac Day, make it green on Anzac Day. And if you want to change it, how long's that take? Well, we don't change it. If it's red up there at the moment, you want to make it green, you've gotta take the globe out of that one and put it in this one. You want amber, you gotta take the globe out of there put it in there, then take it out of there and put it in there to make it go green. Then to make it go back to red... Yeah, yeah, yeah. Lindsay's hotel is packed with memorabilia. Drinkers add all manner of personal items to the collection. From thongs... number plates. Back on the road, the sparse red plains are giving way to shrubs and trees. We've crossed into the Top End where there's been far more rainfall. Dear, dear, dear. Such are the variations of conditions here in the outback. Now, we haven't seen a drop of rain for weeks and weeks and weeks,

and yet, now we've reached the Top End, here's a flooded river. We were hoping to get through to the Mataranka Springs and the famous Mataranka homestead but I don't think there's any way we're getting across that. The same rains that have flooded the Roper River here have raised the water levels in the Nitmiluk Gorge further north. This used to be known as the Katherine Gorge. But just as Ayers Rock is now called by its Indigenous name of Uluru,