What a month we have had! Two members of the Midwest Aboriginal Ranger Program visited the Bush Heritage Australia owned Charles Darwin Reserve and some incredible events began to unfold.
Vaughan Lane and Lindsey Callow, both Badimaya men, are rangers working in the Midwest Aboriginal Ranger Program (a partnership between the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council, Western Mulga and multiple other organisations) and made the trip out to Charles Darwin Reserve to clear out a rock hole.
Rock holes such as these (Badimaya word: nyingari gabhida, meaning zebra finch rock hole) are natural cavities commonly found in hard rock, particularly granite outcrops, and as such act as natural water tanks. They are replenished from underground stores and rainwater run-off and used to be one of the main water sources for Aboriginal people.
This particular rock hole had been filled in with large rocks by station owners before the property was purchased by Bush Heritage. Lots of silt had found its way to the rock hole, filling it completely. It had not been in a functioning state for decades.
After cleaning the hole and ensuring the land could breathe again, Vaughan said “Okay – let’s get out of here and let it rain”.
Less than 24 hours later, a huge front passed over the section of the property where the hole was located – there were high winds, heavy rain, lightening and even hail. The storm lasted for around half an hour, by which point the rock hole was overflowing. It was an incredible sight to see, particularly as 2017 has been one of the driest years in recent history, with only 1.2mm of rain recorded in the previous month at the Reserve.
Ensuring the rock hole remains healthy is vital for the Badimaya people and also for local wildlife who will now be able to rely on a water source that had been missing from the landscape for a long time.
There are more examples of cultural sites on Charles Darwin Reserve and nearby properties and the rangers said they were keen to return all of these sites to good health as soon as possible. This was only Vaughan and Lindsey’s second time visiting us and already they are making amazing improvements to the landscapes of the Midwest. This work is once again displaying the value of working with Traditional Owners and we are seeing the land benefit from their expertise.
The Midwest Aboriginal Ranger Program is supported by the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council, through funding from the Australian Government’s Prime Minister and Cabinet Indigenous Advancement Strategy.