Kiwirrkurra IPA Dedication – Still on Country

[September 2014] 

The Kiwirrkurra community celebrated the dedication of their newly declared Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) this month in a special event with community members, traditional owners and VIPs in remote WA.

More than four million hectares of land was declared as the country’s 61st IPA on 10 September at the event organised by the Central Desert Native Title Service (CDNTS).

Rangelands NRM Program Manager (Desert & Pilbara) Chris Curnow attended the event that was located at a site approximately 700 km north-west of Alice Springs between the Great Sandy and Gibson deserts. 

Mr Curnow said the Kiwirrkurra camp was bustling with pride and excitement.

“We'd picked up Kintore friends on our 12 hours Bush Bus trip from Alice Springs and they set up their camp nearby ours, which was nestled into a natural amphitheatre rising above the endless spinifex plains making a curving horizon to the south,” Mr Curnow said.

“Signing this IPA into effect is a big achievement for the mob, and young ranger aspirants like Mr Matthew West are keen for work to start,” Mr Curnow said.

Women ranger teams have already been doing important land management activities, both healing country by looking after water sources, getting an idea on feral plant and animals and tracking animal species of national importance, like the desert skink and the bilby.

To show the damage caused by feral cats (‘pussycats’), the women – assisted by wildlife consultant Rachel – dissected the stomach of one of the cats they’d trapped. A variety of reptiles were found inside.

The community also took the time to show the visitors the important sites on country. 

“We got to drink from one of the soaks not yet destroyed by camels and to hear about the kangaroo dreaming that passes through Kiwirrkurra country,” Mr Curnow said.

Mr Curnow said the location was right on the ecotone between the Great Sandy and Gibson deserts and it is also an area of national priority for immediate biological surveying.

“Very little is known from a western science perspective about this pristine country,” he said. 

“The Traditional Owners are rightly proud to continue their land management with the extra recognition now in place.”

Mr Curnow said the CDNTS have assisted the Kiwirrkurra Traditional Owners to get through this long Native Title Determination process and the IPA dedication.

“The Land and Community team are now working with the community to map out he next steps for their aspirations to look after country.”

Image (L): The Kiwirrkurra IPA Dedication ceremony (©CCurnow)
Image (R): Jane Dewing from the Dept Prime Minister and Cabinet holds the IPA Delcaration certicifiate (©CCurnow)