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Community on Country for Cultural Burn

May 2018

In early May we hosted a four day Cultural burning workshop on the Far South Coast on Djiringanj Country within the Yuin nation.

We were joined by members of the Biamanga and Gulaga Boards of Management, members of the local Aboriginal community including Local Aboriginal Land Council members, as well as representatives from the Rural Fire Service, Office of Environment and Heritage, Koori Work Crew and Greater Sydney Local Land Services.

The workshop was facilitated by Victor Steffensen from Mulong and Rod Mason from Dharawal Education.

The workshop was held to teach the community and agencies about the traditional fire regime of Australia. The workshop consisted of a mix of indoor and outdoor forums, including two cultural burns.

Cultural burning is about healing Country and healing community, by connecting community back to Culture and Country on their traditional lands. These events are important learning and wellbeing opportunities for community.

The workshop was to educate people about applying the correct amount of fire to certain vegetation types at the correct time of year to enhance biodiversity and restore Country to health. We want people to be able to understand and read Country and the specific landscape better.

By carrying out Cultural burns at the right place at the right time we are able to use a cool fire. This type of fire promotes the growth of native grasses and herbs, allowing native wildlife to flourish. It also eliminates invasive natives that have taken over areas due to hundreds of years of Country being neglected.

Cultural burning can also change the way wildfires behave. The grassy understory created by Cultural burning encourages a wildfire to travel quickly across the landscape, so it doesn’t have the chance to climb the shrub layer and create devastating crown fire.

The workshops represent a welcome opportunity to share traditional knowledge of an ancient land management practice, create employment for community, and develop partnership opportunities and good relationships between the Aboriginal community and the broader community.