Arafura Swamp Rangers throw their support behind Country Needs People

Published: 2 Aug 2018

Great news! The Arafura Swamp Rangers Aboriginal Corporation have just signed up as a supporting organisation of the Country Needs People campaign.

The cultural and ecological significance of the Arafura Swamp, or Gurruwiling, can’t be overstated. It’s a 70 000 hectare floodplain on Yolngu and Bi country in Arnhem Land, which boasts rich plant and animal biodiversity.

Arafura Swamp Rangers and their communities work to keep more than 1.2 million hectares of land and sea country healthy by controlling feral animals and weeds, reducing destructive wildfires, and working to mitigate saltwater intrusion.

Arafura Swamp Rangers Florence Biridjala, Solomon Yarjun O’Ryan and Brendon Warrinyinba.
Brendon, from Dhipirri outstation, is a casual ranger who is waiting for an opportunity to get a permanent position with the Wanga Djakamirr Ranger Group.

Feral buffalo are one of the main threats to the health of Gurruwiling. They spread weeds, trample wetlands, increase erosion and open up channels for saltwater to enter the freshwater ecosystems.

“There are lots of feral animals doing big damage to this area. We used to have lots of water lilies, now it’s just dirty water.”

- Arafura Swamp senior ranger Solomon O’Ryan to Bush Heritage Australia, who works with ASRAC to return the region to good health.

Arafura Swamp Ranger groups include the Dhupuwamirri Rangers, Donydiji Rangers, Mirrngandja Rangers, Wurrungguyana Rangers, Balmawirrey Dhipirri Rangers, Gurruwiling Rangers and Wanga Djakamirr Rangers.

ASRAC Ranger Marley Djanjirri (pictured in the header image) told the ABC looking after country is a sacred responsibility.

"I will looking after my land for my grandfather and father," she said. "I will follow their footstep, I will forget, [but the knowledge] stays on forever."

Learn more about the Arafura Swamp Rangers Aboriginal Corporation here