As discussed in a previous article, one of our Natura team was lucky enough to attend a native seed collection workshop which was run by SEQ Catchments working in cooperation with Greening Australia. This workshop was held on-site at the Guanaba Indigenous Protected Area (GIPA) and was hosted by the Ngarang-Wal Gold Coast Aboriginal Association Incorporation who are the custodians of the area and are responsible for its protection and management into the future.
This beautiful location is nestled at the base of Mount Tamborine in the Gold Coast hinterland and is made up of a combination of steep slopes and valleys which support dense rainforest, vine thickets, eucalypt woodland and pristine freshwater creeks. In 1998 this 100 hectare property was purchased by the Indigenous Land Corporation on behalf of the Ngarang-Wal Land Council and was declared as an Indigenous Protected Area in November 2000 under the World Conservation Union (IUCN). This area comprises part of the traditional lands of the Kombumerri people, a clan of the Yugambeh who are known to have lived in the Gold Coast Region for at least 24,000 years (Department of the Environment and Water Resources Fact Sheet). The site is being managed by its indigenous custodians to conserve and enhance the natural qualities and conservation value of the area, while recognising the need to ‘tread lightly’ in much the same way as their ancestors did (GIPA Brochure).
Along with learning about native seed collection techniques and strategies from Greening Australia’s Paul Ryan, workshop participants were able to take a walk through the site with the land managers and hear about their management strategies, educational programs and their traditional connection to the land. The dedication of the managers and their community to the conservation of this site was an inspiration, as was their passion for their connection to their land and the desire to share and entrench this connection among the youth of the Gold Coast community. The area has many informative interpretative signs which not only identify native species but also explain their attributes and their importance to the indigenous people. This place is a valuable asset for younger generations of Indigenous people to learn more about the traditional knowledge and cultural practice.
Our sincere thanks go to our hosts on this day, the Ngarang Wal Gold Coast Aboriginal Association Incorporation, in particular Tony Dillon and Clinton Brewer who shared so much knowledge with us all. Thanks also to both SEQ Catchments and Greening Australia for making this opportunity possible. For more information about the Guanaba Indigenous Protected Area take a look at the Fact Sheet.