• Credit: Downer
    Credit: Downer

Twelve months after the inaugural cohort of Darumbal Trainee Rangers graduated from their year-long traineeship at Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA), the second cohort - an all-female group of Darumbal trainee rangers - are celebrating their equally successful completion of the program.

The traineeship is a collaboration between the Department of Defence, Downer Defence, and the Darumbal People Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC, with academic training run by CQUniversity (CQU), and on ground training in land management practices by Downer’s Service Delivery Partner – Ecosure - a specialist environmental consultancy.

The year-long program is a combination of cultural ways of learning through Darumbal; the attainment of an academic qualification at CQU in Conservation and Ecosystem Management; and practical and theoretical land management training with Downer across areas such as plant identification, biosecurity, work health and safety processes and fire management.

“Eight Darumbal women commenced the program, and eight Darumbal women completed the program with tertiary qualifications, practical experience, and a much deeper connection to each other and to Country thanks to Defence’s strong support of this program and commitment to its success," said David Morris, General Manager Base & Estate Management at Downer Defence.

“It is an excellent reminder of what we can all achieve through partnership and has also provided a deeper sense of meaning to our own team in our role as stewards of the Defence estate.”

Downer Defence and Darumbal liaise closely throughout the program to ensure the practical framework of Defence land management, revegetation and conservation is culturally connected to the Darumbal training focus.

Embedded in the program were Darumbal ways of knowledge and being from the Darumbal Elders and leaders that drew from generations of knowledge and connection to country. Unique to this female cohort, the program also included Indigenous women’s knowledge and On Country care for sites that are culturally significant to Darumbal women.

“With 100% completion for both cohorts of 16 Rangers over the past two years, attaining qualifications, skills and experience that leads to employment, proves that Darumbal is enabling itself to enhance capability in land and sea Country management on Darumbal country and abroad," said Malcolm Mann, Darumbal Traditional Custodian and Program Coordinator.

"Darumbal’s custodial responsibilities to our Country remains for thousands of years and we commit to looking after our land and sea Country.”

Further opportunities made available to trainees through collaboration with Darumbal included Eyes and Ears - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Compliance Training, and Sea Grass monitoring and JCU Thermal Risk Assessment Project with Darumbal TUMRA (Traditional Use Marine Resources Agreement) project.

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