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Monday, 31 Jul 2023

Thamarrurr Rangers good ways of living

Caption: Christine Tchemjiri, Ngantawudi woman, safely skippers the Thamarrurr Ranger vessel in Hyland Bay during training with AIMS.

Senior Thamarrurr Ranger Uriah Crocombe enjoys keeping Country healthy and teaching people good ways of living and managing Country.

'I enjoy bringing school kids and youth onto Country and showing them activities and talking about the work such as turtle monitoring and identifying weeds, doing boat patrols, doing cultural burning and clearing tracks,' said Uriah.

Centred in the township of Wadeye in the Northern Territory, the Thamarrurr Rangers have been working across the remote western corner of the coast, covering more than 200km of coastline, from the Daly River to the north and the Fitzmaurice River to the south since 2001. 

Traditional Owners of the Thamarrurr region hold a close affinity with Sea Country and together with rangers have recognised the importance of maintaining an active presence on the water

As a Thamarrurr Ranger, Christine Tchemjiri has learnt how to skipper the big boat Yidiwurri and take the team out on the ocean. 

'My family and I are really happy that I can take Rangers up to my country at Ngantawudi to keep an eye on that area,' said Christine.

The rangers access homelands, manage Country and cultural sites whilst monitoring biosecurity threats and maintaining healthy marine and coastal environments. 

The Thamarrurr Ranger always consult with the Traditional Owners in everything they do. Ranger Peter Sheldon says this leads to ongoing interest from young people who look for work with the ranger group.   

'The program is an excellent example of how innovative community led programs provide environmental, social, cultural and economic outcomes, and this program will continue to grow from strength to strength for another 20 years,' said Peter.

One can see the growth and the strength in the long standing partnership with the ENI Blacktip gas operation has recently expanded to include scientific monitoring and mapping of coastal and offshore reef environments in the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf.  

The Australian Institute of Marine Science, Parks Australia, and ENI have recently partnered with Thamarrurr Rangers to utilise Baited Remote Underwater Videos (BRUVs) and other marine surveying techniques.

In 2020, Thamarrurr Rangers used the joint agreements and grants from National Indigenous Australian Agency and the Northern Territory Government's Aboriginal Ranger Grants program to purchase a larger and better equipped vessel so they could conduct specialised marine surveying and operations further from shore.

This arrangement continues to grow with ongoing training in marine operations with rangers increasing their ability of monitoring for research and compliance purposes, including helping ENI meet its environmental obligations set by the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority.

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