Concept plans for transforming the old Aboriginal reserve in Carnarvon to a cultural parkland have been handed over to the Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation this month.
Rangelands NRM engaged Steve Vigilante of Vigilante Landscape Architecture to survey the potential for a parkland to be created by the community for the community and deliver three conceptual plans of what the park could look like.
Bevan Gray, Indigenous NRM Projects Coordinator at Rangelands NRM said Steve worked with the Gnulli Native Title Working Group (NTWG), potential stakeholders, government agencies, businesses and the wider community – particularly the Elders – who had lived at the reserve to complete the tasks required.
“This place holds significant cultural heritage to the town and was a special home to many of its now aging Elders. The history behind the reserve is still hurtful to many people. It was disbanded in the early 80’s not so long ago really,” he said.
Rangelands NRM first became involved working in the old reserve area whilst providing NRM work opportunities for unemployed Aboriginal youth a few years ago. The result was the creation of the first Indigenous Green Team in WA which was administered from the CDEP provider EMU Services.
The focus for the team was to address the continuing infestation of Athel Pine also known as Tamarix. Training was held monthly with the remainder spent treating the infestation or working the nursery where native gums were being propagated.
“During this time it was identified that the reserve area needed urgent treatment as the area had begun to be overtaken by Tamarix,” Mr Gray said.
Given the historical issues, Rangelands NRM began to find a pathway for things to work smoothly without hindrance and what became very obvious was the fact the larger trees hold sentimental value to all who lived there and that negotiations to keep some of them as part of the historical value would be required.
Negotiations began with potential stakeholders including Mungullah community, the local Shire, DAFWA, Carnarvon LCDC, community groups and businesses. There was an overwhelming response for it to happen.
“Vigilante Landscape Architecture have done a fantastic job engaging all involved to deliver the concepts to the NTWG last month,” Mr Gray said.
“Handing over those concepts to the group was seen as the outcome. A parkland which allowed for enterprise in arts/crafts and cultural/bush tucker tours, a place of celebration, for healing and gathering of people in times of sorrow and infrastructure to enhance the long-term sustainability would be the longer term outcomes,” Mr Gray said.
The best result has been the happiness we see in the Elders because they have had an important role to play.
The next step is for the Gnulli NTWG to discuss the conceptual options put to them and decide whether or not to proceed in building a lasting legacy for the town.