The area of Western Arnhem Land in which the Bawinanga Rangers operate encompasses the traditional estates of more than 100 individual clan groups and the Djelk Indigenous Protected Area (IPA). Surrounding the coastal community of Maningrida as well as more than 30 family-based outstation communities, the area has an unbroken history of Indigenous use and management. Since the early 1990s, this continuous stewardship has also included the Bawinanga Rangers.
The Bawinanga Rangers are one of the pioneering Indigenous land management programs in Australia. A strategic community-based initiative, the Bawinanga Rangers were formed by traditional landowners in Western Arnhem Land in response to growing environmental concerns. While the Aboriginal lands in Western Arnhem Land are some of the most biodiverse and structurally intact landscapes in the country, they faced a similar suite of environmental challenges to the rest of northern Australia. These included changing fire regimes, the decline of native animal species and the spread of invasive weeds and feral animals.
For more than 20 years, the Bawinanga Rangers, traditional landowners and djungkay (managers) have worked together to keep their land and sea country in Western Arnhem Land healthy and their culture and communities strong. Along with their success at delivering positive land and sea management outcomes, across this time the Djelk Rangers have also gained widespread recognition for their application of Indigenous knowledge to understandings of contemporary land and sea management issues.
Phone: 08 8979 6530
Image credit: David Hancock, Skyscans; © Bawinanga Rangers