River Dreaming - Cultural Connections 2013
As part of the Great Eastern ranges Initiative , the Kanangra-Boyd to Wyangala Link project,(GER K2W) Lachlan landcare, Lachlan CMA and the CORRIDOR project held a pilot workshop to scope the potential of identifying and acknowledging cultural indigenous knowledge within Landcare communities within the K2W landscape.
The pilot titled “Gotta be Dreaming ” was structured around a canoe trip along the section of the Lachlan river below Wyangala Dam. This trip was integrated with informal presentations about ecological knowledge of the riverine landscape and habitat , discussing aspects of vegetation , geology and soils , water quality , bird habitat and significance to species, as well as aspects identifying indigenous cultural knowledge in relation to country. Two significant aspects were the traditional burning methods of fire management and the indigenous astronomy and its significance in the custodial calendar.
The weekend was hosted at the CORRIDORproject which is located at the Riverslea Woolshed and Shearers quarters ,which allowed for direct access to the Lachlan River and provided an platform for exploring the potential of such a project. Also participating in the Lachlan CMA’s Paddocks Alight project, (see video) exploring traditional mosaic burning as methods for land management , this provided an opportunity to discuss the capacity for traditional burning within the broader K2W project.
The location also allowed for a visit to the Darby’s Falls observatory where we had a paralleled presentation from Mark the local astronomer, and Duane Hamarcher, from the Indigenous Cultural institute Nura Gili UNSW, who gave us a perspective of Australian AboriginalAstronomy (see more here:) This raised the significance of the night sky as a seasonal calendar and guide, as well as a mythological reference to Indigenous stories and cultural knowledge.
The river experience whilst providing a perspective of ecological knowledge, also provided a team building experience to the participants in terms of negotiating an environmentally spectacular yet challenging stretch of the river , with its respective rapids and obstacles.
We hope the opportunities explored and discussed as part of the weekend, will evolved into projects that provide a valuable extension of the project objectives whilst raising indigenous cultural knowledge amongst landholders and communities of the K2W link.