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The Aboriginal Riverkeeper Team Project, Georges River, Sydney

Conference Paper


Abstract


  • Australia is both the driest inhabited continent on Earth, and home to the longest surviving culture, that of Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal water and stream

    management knowledge builds

    off millennia of continuous connection to, and caring for Country. Through the process of colonisation there has been significant

    disruption to Aboriginal culture and knowledge. To mitigate this, efforts are being made to reconnect and strengthen both Aboriginal peoples, and Country,

    through a variety of programs. One such environmental program is the Aboriginal Riverkeeper project that operated within Sydney’s Georges River catchment

    between 2014-2017 and employed and trained a small team of Aboriginal people in ecological restoration with strong Aboriginal cultural components. With the

    Georges River as a focal point, the Aboriginal Riverkeeper project extended from Saltwater Bidigal Country in Botany Bay, to

    Fresh/Sweet water Dharawal Country

    near Campbelltown and Appin. During the three years the Aboriginal Riverkeeper Team achieved numerous environmental outcomes such as: bush regeneration,

    weed removal and increased habitat. The eight young Aboriginal trainees also engaged in deeply personal development

    of their Aboriginal identities which was

    facilitated by establishing regular cultural days throughout the project which saw the trainees spend time with Aboriginal Elders, knowledge holders and Local

    Aboriginal Lands Councils to learn about local Aboriginal history, culture and connections to Country. Through this culture-rich traineeship, the project continued

    the concept of Indigenous Caring for Country in a modern and highly urbanised setting, in this case, south-western Sydney which is also home to a large and young

    Indigenous population - thus targeted traineeships also positively contribute to long term social benefits for this community. This paper reviews the

    project and

    explores some lessons learnt, it reflects the project’s successes and identifies how Indigenous knowledge of Country, including water, can be maintained through

    investment in Indigenous specific environmental programs like the Aboriginal Riverkeeper Team.

Publication Date


  • 2017

Citation


  • Cavanagh, V. (2017). The Aboriginal Riverkeeper Team Project, Georges River, Sydney. Australian Society for Limnology Conference

Abstract


  • Australia is both the driest inhabited continent on Earth, and home to the longest surviving culture, that of Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal water and stream

    management knowledge builds

    off millennia of continuous connection to, and caring for Country. Through the process of colonisation there has been significant

    disruption to Aboriginal culture and knowledge. To mitigate this, efforts are being made to reconnect and strengthen both Aboriginal peoples, and Country,

    through a variety of programs. One such environmental program is the Aboriginal Riverkeeper project that operated within Sydney’s Georges River catchment

    between 2014-2017 and employed and trained a small team of Aboriginal people in ecological restoration with strong Aboriginal cultural components. With the

    Georges River as a focal point, the Aboriginal Riverkeeper project extended from Saltwater Bidigal Country in Botany Bay, to

    Fresh/Sweet water Dharawal Country

    near Campbelltown and Appin. During the three years the Aboriginal Riverkeeper Team achieved numerous environmental outcomes such as: bush regeneration,

    weed removal and increased habitat. The eight young Aboriginal trainees also engaged in deeply personal development

    of their Aboriginal identities which was

    facilitated by establishing regular cultural days throughout the project which saw the trainees spend time with Aboriginal Elders, knowledge holders and Local

    Aboriginal Lands Councils to learn about local Aboriginal history, culture and connections to Country. Through this culture-rich traineeship, the project continued

    the concept of Indigenous Caring for Country in a modern and highly urbanised setting, in this case, south-western Sydney which is also home to a large and young

    Indigenous population - thus targeted traineeships also positively contribute to long term social benefits for this community. This paper reviews the

    project and

    explores some lessons learnt, it reflects the project’s successes and identifies how Indigenous knowledge of Country, including water, can be maintained through

    investment in Indigenous specific environmental programs like the Aboriginal Riverkeeper Team.

Publication Date


  • 2017

Citation


  • Cavanagh, V. (2017). The Aboriginal Riverkeeper Team Project, Georges River, Sydney. Australian Society for Limnology Conference