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Learning from Traditional Custodians in the west

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Recently CFA supported Wadawarrung Traditional Custodians with a cultural burn at Stoneleigh, which provided a unique learning opportunity. 

Learning from Traditional Custodians in the west

Learning from Victor

A burn undertaken by the Wadawarrung Traditional Custodians on Bain’s property proved to be an incredible learning experience for all those involved.

The burn was part of the Victorian Volcanic Recovery Program supported by the Glenelg Hopkins CMA and funded by the Federal Government National Landcare Program.  

Wadawarrung invited members of the Firestick Alliance to attend and saw the day as an opportunity to share and develop knowledge around traditional practices.

Mr Victor Steffensen, a proud Taglaka man from the Gulf Country in Northern Queensland, shared his knowledge about traditional burning and the use of fire as a healing agent for country.

Victor is an accomplished filmmaker, musician, and author who has been inspired to share the knowledge of our First Nations people before the wisdom and teachings of many generations are lost.

The landowner summed up well what others thought about the experience.

"We would like to thank Matt King (CMA) and the teams that worked toward such a successful cool burn yesterday. Tony Brady coordinated the CFA crews of the Stoneleigh, Snake Valley and Skipton brigades, while the DEWLP Forest Fire Management team added another layer of safety of the day. The professionalism and knowledge were shared seamlessly between everyone, leading to a day of great conversations, ecological findings and new understandings.

"The unexpected contribution of Victor Steffensen provided a deeper context to the importance of the day and the process. His words were enriched by the timely fly pass of Bundjil!

"We feel that, for us, the day was a demonstration of the value of listening, learning and giving time to ideas that focus on the big picture of preserving and enhancing the biodiversity of our volcanic grasslands.We look forward to continuing this valued new partnership."

Traditional Custodian burning has different objectives and methodology compared with conventional burning by fire agencies. However, it was evident that there are synergies between both and when applied can complement each other leading to healing of country and safer communities for everyone.

A great day for everyone involved.