Healthy Country

Traditional Owners of the Thamarrurr region consistently express the importance of being on Country for spiritual, cultural, social, economic and environmental reasons.

The region encompasses homelands for 20 clan groups, with thousands of cultural sites including ceremony and sacred sites, rock art and stone arrangements, recreational places, and associated heritage and values. The land provides food and other resources and Traditional Owners have rights and responsibilities to their Country.

There is also a wealth of cultural knowledge around wildlife and sacred stories. While some of the knowledge is passed on to future generations and being recorded, there are aspects of this knowledge being lost.

People’s connection with and yearning for Country cannot be overstated. Despite the challenges of access, many Traditional Owners regularly live on or visit their Country.

Traditional Owners are working to protect and maintain Country and Culture, including:

  • Local control, belonging and purpose
  • Intergenerational transfer of knowledge and skills associated with Country and Culture
  • Fostering respect and enthusiasm by younger generations for culture and traditions
  • Management of cultural sites
  • Hunting and gathering practices, consumption of bush foods and associated healthy lifestyle choices
  • Meaningful “work” on Country and addressing associated socio–economic issues
  • Implementing traditional fire management practices, including patchwork burning in the early dry season
  • More active land management strategies

The Healthy Country Program focuses on the improvement of access to and management of the Thamarrurr region by Traditional Owners. This program also provides a platform for culture, education and economic development through the Thamarrurr Rangers and the Western Top End Savannah Fire Management project.

The Thamarrurr Region is home to pristine coastline where sea turtles lay their eggs and the Moyle and Little Moyle Rivers and adjacent floodplains, protected by the Marri-Tjavin Indigenous Protected Area.

Traditional Owners and the Thamarrurr Rangers are seeking support to adequately manage this significant area.

While the landscapes of the Thamarrurr Region are considered relatively intact, there are significant threats from exotic weeds, feral animals, wild fires, illegal access to areas, future developments and climate change. Each of these threats has potential impacts on the biodiversity and cultural heritage of the Region, some of which are already evident. Traditional Owners and the Thamarrurr rangers continue to have a vital role to play in the Thamarrurr region.

Thamarrurr Rangers was established in 2001 by the Traditional Owners of the Thamarrurr Region to address land and sea management issues.

The Western Top End Savannah Fire Management (WTESFM) project is an initiative that helps rangers and Traditional Owners get back out on Country…