Reconciliation and cultural awareness

Reconciliation and cultural awareness

Pathways program


Reconciliation and cultural awareness pathways

Project period


Project status

In progress

Project funding (ex GST)

This program is a thread that runs through all of MCG projects.

It was originally funded through ACT environment grants for 2013-14 and 2014-15.

ACT Government

Program links

This project contributes to the following MCG programs

  • Community engagement

Project description

The Molonglo Catchment Group acknowledges the significance to the local Aboriginal populations of the land, water, flora and fauna within and around the catchment area. The respective spiritual connections are based on deep respect for, and an intrinsic understanding of the tablelands ecology, and the pathways and corridors that traverse this land.

The Molonglo Catchment is part of a traditional corridor along which Aboriginal people have travelled, hunted, camped, conducted meetings and ceremonial practices for at least 25,000 years before the present day, and we embrace and incorporate Welcome to Country across overlapping cultural, jurisdictional and ecological boundaries.

As specifically noted in our programs, we organise ourselves around our core programs. ‘Our natural resource programs connect ecosystems and communities, integrate western science and Aboriginal knowledge’.

We are proud to demonstrate our respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures in our everyday business practices.

Landcare outputs

National Landcare ProgrammeMolonglo Catchment Group acknowledges the funding assistance provided through the Australian Government's National Landcare Programme Regional Investment Strategy, various ACT Government environment and heritage programs, and various NSW Government programs.

Project status and outcomes monitoring

Major reconciliation activities 2017-18

Ngunanwal Pathways Program

MCG staff and Board are seeking funding for Ngunanwal Pathways Program. In partnership with Traditional Custodians we will workshop, design, and pilot a transferable assessment framework for integrated land management and property planning to influence community behaviour, leading to high impact regional programs.

This initiative aims to provide environmental wellbeing through encouraging sustainable land management and enabling caring for country back on private land in the ACT and NSW southern tablelands.

We envisage that our initiative would enable access to integrated NRM and its recommendations through our three-year staged approach:

  • Year 1: Regional field day (negotiating and forming strategic regional partnerships)
  • Year 2: Community workshops focused around various regional bases (partnering local service providers)
  • Year 3: One-on-one individual property visits (facilitating fee for service opportunities for local Aboriginal custodians)

Wandiyali banks to bush riparian linkages project

Building on previous activity in the area, this project brings together a cluster of properties that is currently a project 'gap' with respect to upstream and downstream initiatives. It addresses local issues within the Jerrabomberra Creek habitat Corridor and will link remnant vegetation and project outcomes from all sides.

A great deal of planning work has been undertaken in relation to resource assessments on Wandiyali and neighbouring properties, as well as negotiations with local Council. The area that is the focus of this project is located at a ‘cross-roads’ in ecological corridors, overlapped by cultural pathways that were traversed by rural settlers throughout the region’s history, and Aboriginal people prior to them.

Caring for Ngunawal Pathways: Integrating Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal natural resource management

The project involves Ngunawal people in caring for a key ‘pathway’ in the Ngunawal landscape and to enable their cultural knowledge and land management practices to be shared, applied and integrated with non-Aboriginal NRM practices, in on-ground works.

Additionally, this project builds the capability of Aboriginal people to deliver on-ground NRM projects and expand the knowledge of NRM practitioners and the broader community about culturally important landscape context/practices (and how to apply them as part of environmental activities).

Major reconciliation activities 2016-17

Majura Bush Festival

Ngunawal cultural campfire for women and children

Ngunawal family history by Karen Denny and Rebecca King included learning a children’s song in the Ngunawal language and games

Sustainable Agriculture in the Majura Valley and its Application

Acknowledging Aboriginal cultural and rural land use perspectives in workshop discussion focussed on the adoption of relevant management practices to increase production and productivity and to improve product quality. The workshops emphasised an integrated approach to land management, targeting rural and peri-urban landholders.

Wally Bell (Ngunawal Elder and Mulanggang Landcare Group) was a panel member of each of the four workshops.

Black Mountain Woodland Walks

Incorporating Aboriginal nameplates and information into notices on walks around Black Mountain.

Major reconciliation activities 2015-16

Block 2 Section 128 Yarralumla – Building Ngunawal engagement in natural resource management: Bullan Mura

Bullan Murra means “women’s pathway” in Ngunawal language and the restoration of this section of land is restoring an ancient storyline of everyday activities and social and cultural trade and relations.

The establishment of a ‘no-mow’ area on Bullan Murra is promoting the growth of indigenous perennials and grasses and protecting the regeneration of threatened and endangered species of plants.

Refer to Landscape Architecture Australia—August 2017 (Issue 155), Sharing and caring for Ngunawal pathways. by Karen Williams. Article about working with the Ngunawal community to strengthen cultural landscapes in the Canberra region.

2015 series of Ngunawal Walks and Talks

These walks and talks expanded on the 2013-14 series to consist of:

  • public introductory lecture at the Australian National Botanic Gardens
  • boat cruise on Lake Burley Griffin designed for environment/heritage and planning post-graduates and informed amateurs
  • talk in the landscape focused on the symbolism of the landscape at the base of Mt Ainslie that includes the National War Memorial and Anzac Avenue. Stories and sharing of experiences and knowledge.
  • Coach tour of Sullivan’s Creek catchment designed for environment/heritage and planning professionals, and post-graduates

Major reconciliation activities 2013-14

Interacting with the Ngunawal Perspective

Commencement of a program of walks and talks with Ngunawal community leaders such as Wally and Tyrone Bell and water and earth scientists Fiona Dyer and Ken McQueen.

The walks shared different aspects of culture, environment and landscape as interpreted through conversations. These drew together various aspects of Ngunawal culture, fresh water ecology, geology and geomorphology, and the history of the natural environment and cultural landscape of the ACT region.

The walks were:

  • Oaks Estate and Molonglo Gorge
  • Oaks Estate and Beard
  • Little Black Mountain and Sullivan’s Creek
  • London Bridge limestone arch formation on the Burra creek

Supporting PlaceStories