Indigenous Communities

and the Environment

Indigenous Protected Area - video

Wattleridge, New South Wales

Situated about 35 kilometres north-east of the New England township of Guyra, Wattleridge covers nearly six and a half square kilometres of botanically diverse bushland growing on outcropping granite country. Bounded by the Sara River flowing to the north, the land's rocky ridges and rolling landscape are separated by forested valley flats, picturesque creeks and tumbling waterfalls.

 

Indigenous Protected Areas - Wattleridge, NSW from Parks Australia on Vimeo.

Transcript

Lee Patterson, Wattleridge IPA, NSW
When I was a kid, we were always told this is your land, but we never had any land to actually go to and we'd say, well, where is our land? But the beauty of it is now, since we went through the process to get land back, is one of pride and jubilation and elation that you can't, you can't describe it.

People are back now collecting bush medicine where we couldn't do that in the past because they'd be, land owners'd be straight onto you and say, "well hang on you're trespassing," and a lot of our people were being prosecuted for trespassing so a lot of that cultural tying started to diminish a bit.

Even in their faces you see a pride and a joy that wasn't there. there's opportunities for employment here. Some people who are thirty years old, it's the first time they've had a job in their life.

Woman and trainer
OK, we've got two more pieces to cut. One at 500 and one at 480.

Lee Patterson, Wattleridge IPA, NSW
What we're finding now that a lot of young people are wanting to work out here too, so they're wanting to be looking after the country and that's good for us and what's a bit hurtful is that when we train them and the skills that they've picked up here are in demand in the broader community.

Doug Cutmore, Wattleridge IPA, NSW
Well, six year ago I come out here. I was - I developed tree climbing skills, fencing skills, weed spraying skills, mixing poisons and all that and from that I developed my own business from the knowledge I got from Banbai to go out and do my own, start my own business and that's working all right now. And I hope in the future that a lot of the young fellas can see that - how I've done it and I hope they can follow my footsteps.

Workers fencing
"How come you have to line the fence up?"
"So it's always straight."
"Yeah, but why?"
"Well, it's no use putting up a crooked fence."

John Patterson, Wattleridge IPA, NSW
We want to try and get as many of our members to come out here and be part of it through work. Now whether that's working on the place, being part of the tour guides.

On behalf of myself and members of the Banbai nation, I would like to welcome you to our country.

And we want people to be part of that so they can tell them all about what we offer here.

And that was part of letting other Aboriginal tribal people know that this was their area.

Because of the cultural significance, the sites that we've got on here. Our scar trees, our art sites, our burial ground. That's the sort of stuff that made us venture down that track, of declaring an Indigenous Protected Area.