Phil Hawkey’s Scholarship

Phil Hawkey and Len Timmins travelled to Cape York in Queensland to research and learn from Traditional Owners about the Traditional use of fire in the landscape.

The 8th Annual Cape York Indigenous Fire Knowledge Workshop hosted by the Jabalbina Aboriginal Corporation in conjunction with Mulong Productions, Jabalbina Rangers and Cape York Natural Resource Management was held in Eastern Kuku Yalanji Bubu.

For the past eight years, traditional owners and non-indigenous from all Australian states and territories have gathered on Cape York to share traditional fire knowledge. This year 130 participants witnessed fire methodologies developed specifically for each landscape put into practice based on a sound understanding of the flora and fauna and ecological characteristics of this land.

Workshop participants partook in a series of cultural awareness and practical skill based activities.

Participants are given a responsibility of sharing the lessons learned from the hosts. A number of key messages about agency contribution, partnership and initiatives to enhance the application of traditional burning practice and knowledge are identified.

Participation in the workshop has confirmed that activities based on the knowledge and spirit of traditional burning practice has a significant potential to facilitate cultural exchange between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians, and well-being outcomes for Aboriginal people. The application of fire, based on traditional practice could also extend the capability of land managers to treat bushfire through applying a wider range of planned burning intensity, cover, and age class (fire mosaic) yielding ecological benefits.

Understanding of the cultural aspects of traditional burning by fire and land management agencies will be instrumental to success.

Participation in this workshop has enhanced that understanding.

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