Part of the Open Day was about acknowledging and celebrating the partnerships that led to the construction of the Ranger Base and consequently being named winners of the Partnership Award at the Queensland Reconciliation Awards held last month in Brisbane.
The collaborative ranger base project was the product of a successful partnership between Bana Yarralji Bubu Aboriginal Corporation (BYB), the Centre for Appropriate Technology, Engineers without Borders and engineering firm Aurecon. It included volunteer engineers and architects from Arup, and SKM, and volunteer trades people from Indigenous Community Volunteers (ICV), who worked alongside a team of BYB Rangers to build an ablution block and ranger office, including water and power supply.
This project is very symbolic for Marilyn and Peter Wallace and has given them much hope and strength to meet their aspirations of returning to live on their country. They now plan on moving into the next phases of BYB’s vision which will eventually include setting up a cultural centre, training centre and accommodation for campers and other visitors. In relation to partnerships, Marilyn commented that “at first we were engaged; now we are married”, and looks forward to working together in future.
The Open Day was attended by many family and friends from the area and partner organisations that have been involved with assisting Bana Yarralji Bubu through this important phase. The day started with a smoking ceremony and welcome on country, traditional dance and speeches commemorating the hard work and importance of partnerships to help reach their goal of returning to country. The rangers organised a guided walk through the rainforest sharing their knowledge of bush foods and medicinal properties of plants. The night was celebrated with a sing-a-long and dancing after enjoying a a Kupa Murri – a traditional feast of meat and vegetables cooked in a ground oven heated by rocks and coals over many hours.
“Working together in partnership assisted us in reaching our aspirations. It empowered our rangers and Traditional Owners for their own future of moving back to country. Everyone has skills, but it was the cross-cultural sharing that was most important that meant we could all learn together” – Marilyn Wallace