Aboriginal land management and culture will be promoted in the region under a partnership between the NSW Government and the North East Wiradjuri Co Ltd.
Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said the North East Wiradjuri Co Ltd has been appointed by Crown Lands to manage the 498-hectare Drayton Valley Reserve, north of Rylstone on the Bylong Valley Way.
“The North East Wiradjuri Cultural Centre in Kandos is a not-for-profit that has volunteers passionate about working on country, sharing cultural knowledge and promoting community well-being,” Mr Toole said.
“It hosts cultural activities, organises bushwalks and bush tucker tours, does rock art protection, and works with agencies and other organisations on caring for country initiatives and training opportunities.
“The company’s appointment to manage Drayton Valley Reserve is a significant step that will allow it to apply traditional practices to care for country while promoting Aboriginal cultural learning with younger generations and the wider community.”
North East Wiradjuri Co Ltd’s Emma Syme said the appointment was ‘exciting’.
“The reserve is beautiful with trees, rock outcrops, rock shelters and cultural resources that make it a really amazing spot,” Ms Syme said.
“We want to clean up the land by removing rubbish and broken glass, and undertake Aboriginal land management initiatives, including cultural burns to protect the environment and wildlife.
“We want to teach younger people and pass on cultural knowledge. There is also plenty of bush tucker on the reserve such as geebung, native cherry and lots more to learn about native plants and their many uses.”
Peter Swain, a former ranger and conservation volunteer, said a brief walk had identified Aboriginal cultural sites including shelters, stone tools and a scar tree.
“Our walk found scatters and rock shelters just hundreds of metres from the road, and we’re aware of art sites on nearby land, so there is plenty to explore.
“The area is safe and accessible so there is huge opportunity to teach younger people cultural knowledge, how to make Aboriginal implements, and also host family gatherings and cultural activities,” Mr Swain said.
Minister for Lands and Water Kevin Anderson said the appointment was part of ongoing efforts to support Aboriginal outcomes from Crown land.
“The NSW Government is committed to working with Aboriginal communities to unlock multiple benefits from Crown land including economic, social, cultural and environmental outcomes and to protect cultural heritage,” Mr Anderson said.