The Dharriwaa Elders Group at Walgett has received funding from the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) through the Indigenous River Rangers Program for the Ngarrangarra-li Walaaybaa Rangers (Look After Home Country Rangers) / Walgett River Rangers.  

The successful submission builds on twenty years of advocacy by DEG for a greater role for First Nations peoples in the management of rivers and water dependent ecosystems. The Program recognises Indigenous Australians’ connection to country and the diversity of environmental and cultural practices across the Murray Darling Basin, aiming to provide Indigenous organisations an opportunity to use their knowledge and connection to country to contribute to managing and restoring waterway health in the Basin.

The Program will build a sustainable ranger team which, with the Dharriwaa Elders Group advocacy and relationships, will work to return Walgett waters to the good health remembered by Walgett Elders. 

DEG’s Virginia Robinson with Ranger Team’s Meredith Robinson and Ernest Sands reflecting after their induction into DEG’s Cultural Values Register, at the Elders Centre 27 April 2022

Under the program, academics from UNSW’s Law, Science and Engineering will work with the Ngarrangarra-li Walaaybaa Rangers employed at the DEG and provide training on the following topics:

- Water presence in the landscape – understanding how volumes of water are measured and the design and management of a local monitoring program and connections to wider MDB monitoring programs
- Water quality – theory and methods for basic water chemistry with the view to establishing a local field lab
- Ecological value of water – theory and techniques to monitor environmental health (flora and fauna)
- Legal and Regulatory framework - an overview of commonwealth and state environmental and water law reporting and responsibilities.

The training content is developed from a First Nations perspective and uses traditional knowledge and nomenclature.

UNSW-GWI is privileged to continue its work with the Dharriwaa Elders Group at Walgett through the UNSW Yuwaya Ngarra-Li partnership and looks forward to the roll out of the training programs for the Ngarrangarra-li Walaaybaa Rangers (Look After Home Country Rangers) / Walgett River Rangers.