Wadi Wadi Country begins between Lake Boga and Swan Hill, straddles the Murray River downstream to the junction of the Murrumbidgee River, then west to Lake Tyrell, within Victoria. Wadi Wadi Country includes the major river red gum stand in Nyah Vernifera Forest and Lake Tyrell (outside the region).
There are currently several groups representing Wadi Wadi Traditional Owners. To inform RCS renewal, we first contacted the Wadi Wadi Murray Lower Darling River Indigenous Nations (MLDRIN) delegates. Wadi Wadi Land and Water Indigenous Corporation Board members responded and elected to participate.
Traditional Owners engaged for RCS renewal were asked to identify values, including places of value (optional), aspirations and priorities around caring for Country. Input from the Wadi Wadi Land and Water Indigenous Corporation is outlined on this page. The input from all Traditional Owners has informed the development of priority directions and outcomes, as outlined on the Traditional Owners page.
Places of value
All areas of Country are of great importance and that the naming of specific places here, should not compromise the importance of those not listed.
- Cultural heritage – mounds, sand hills, scar trees
- Important landscapes – waterways, river junctions such as the Murrumbidgee junction (outside north central region), are of importance, as meetings places, for ceremonies.
- Nyah-Vinifera important (outside north central region)
Regarding current management
- Regulation of Murray River, speed and height of flow.
- Bank erosion from boats, bad water quality
- Pest and weed control
- Harm to Country from visitor behaviour – e.g. damage caused by 4WD, dumped rubbish, damage to cultural heritage
- Country not taken care of properly, we’re not there to control or look after Country, e.g. too much leaf litter, fire hazard
- Problems with the rivers, it’s the flows, neglect by the government, how they release it, it’s all about the irrigators. We can tell the damage to the river by just looking at the river.
Regarding Wadi Wadi role
- Prioritisation of farmers.
- Traditional Owners powerless at present, yet the river is ours.
“To the rangers it’s their job, to us it’s our life”
“Where’d you fellas get your degrees from? Well I got mine from the bush”
“The bush and the waterways aren’t happy unless we’re out there”
Actively caring for Country
- Aim to be restored as caretakers of the bush. Want to be able to manage own Country.
- Employing Traditional Owners as rangers is key to looking after land and waterways.
- To provide evidence of capacity, Wadi need to be supported to get on land and look after it. Need some more people on Country, compliance officers.
- Positions created, not just a couple of days here and there, long term thinking and funding.
- Wadi people need to have input, long term approaches, put our values into works. Working groups, employment, and Traditional Owner management needs to be ongoing.
- Revegetation and fencing along rivers.
- Once we’re set up as rangers, we’d like government contracts, pest control, weed control, water monitoring
- Aboriginal people need to be there fulltime, otherwise government departments will never get there.
Connecting to Country, assessment and monitoring
- Opportunities to gather regularly – meeting place, resources, getting Wadi set up.
- Not out on Country enough, want to be camping out. Increased number of hours on Country = Wadi cultural objective.
- Need support to hold a Wadi tour to assess and identify issues
- Regarding water assessment, a few samples not enough, needs to be more extensive, should be more funding to go out more often and do more testing – combine indigenous knowledge and Western science, needs to be in collaboration.
- Aboriginal Water Assessments (AWAs) good but limited to specific waterways. Would be good to do a Cultural Management Plan – to map out our Country.
Formal recognition, land ownership and planning
- RAP status
- Land and water ownership
- Country planning could be helpful to access funding. Want to see results.