Firesticks 2018

Bringing the good fire to Bundanon

Bundanon is collaborating with the local Indigenous people, and the Rural Fire Service, to return ‘cultural burning’ to our toolkit of environment management techniques. The partnership is an example of Bundanon’s commitment to environmental management through land rejuvenation and education projects.

In 2018, the National Indigenous Fire Workshop was held outside of Cape York for the first time in its ten year history. The conferenec was hosted by the Mudjingaalbaraga Firesticks team with Bundanon providing the perfect site for elders to share the practice of good fire.

WHAT IS CULTURAL BURNING?

These controlled, cool burns only take place when temperatures and conditions are right.

Cultural burning is a term used to describe burning practices used by Aboriginal people to enhance the health of land and its people. It incorporates both burning and prevention of burning with both angles playing a role in species protection and enhancement, patch burning to stagger fire intervals across the country or hazard reduction.

These controlled, cool burns only take place when temperatures and conditions are right. They assist in bringing back life to the bush plants which rely on fire to thrive and reduce the dry fuel load on the ground which causes devastating bushfires in the summer months. The recent burning will assist in protecting our own, and our neighbours, properties in future hot weather conditions.

Also known as 'the good fire', cultural buring plays a role in accessibility to, and management of, cultural heritage sites. Culturally fire plays a ceremonial role in welcoming people to Country and as a gathering place.


Healing of Country

Our young fellas stood tall, and walked alongside with the fire from the first day of ignition until the fire rested to acknowledge, reflect and allow the healing process to continue.
- Noel Webster

Noel Webster, Aboriginal Community Support Officer with South East Local Land Services shared the following words after the conference:

Healing of Country took place and a special relationship with the landscape and Aboriginal communities from afar was formed with the reintroduction of cultural fire on Yuin Country. Our young fellas stood tall, and walked alongside with the fire from the first day of ignition until the fire rested to acknowledge, reflect and allow the healing process to continue.

A total of 150 Ha was treated with fire over 14 days... Over 35 years of fire fuel on the ground surface, no native grasses to hold the moisture from the dew and frost to extinguish the fire with natural containment.

Walking alongside the fire was empowering, seeing light filtered through an untouched or harmed canopy to open space to provide a germination processes for our native ground covers, thick blankets of leaf litter no longer suppressing the earth and dominating landscape.

Communities coming together, sharing knowledge, stories and networks, strengthening culture fire alliances across the country. So many great stories to tell and memories to cherish for a life time, I am grateful to the firestick effort that has provided me with the inspiration, drive, motivation and passion to continue in my endeavors to have our cultural fire practices and knowledge well respected, understood and undertaken to heal people, communities and Country.

Walawarni (safe journey)


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