This week a series of workshops are being held to educate about the techniques of indigenous land management using fire as the tool. I was able to attend one of these at the property of Ivan Davison at the top end of the gorge towards the Head. It was a great day with a group of people as diverse as government environment officers, indigenous ranger groups from the local Githabul and also from the Bunya mountains, a senior fire officer and his wife, local landowners and other interested parties. All were there to learn. Victor held the workshop sharing his knowledge which has been passed on for generations from indigenous elders. He outlined the importance of controlled burns appropriate to the vegetation and place as a means of healing the soil and preventing big wildfires from occurring. He also emphasised the importance of on the ground decision making about when, how and what to burn stating that the on the ground conditions can't be judged accurately from an office in the city. The land itself tells us when it needs to be burnt and what sort of burn is needed.
It was interesting how fire has a place in all aspects of indigenous society; care for the land, care for the people and care for the spirit. In the past it has not only held the land healthy and productive but has also been one of the things holding communities together. Their deep reverence for and honouring of the land was obvious throughout the day.
At the end we joined together to work out ways forward for bringing this knowledge to a wider audience and to forge links between the people which had started with this shared day. Everyone there realised the way forward is to work together for the good of the land and each other; to rebuild healthy community and healthy land.