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Tjuwanpa Women Rangers – Inspiring others to Work on Country

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Seven Aboriginal women in ranger uniforms stand next to a white bark tree. In the background is a rocky slope and more trees.
From left: Genise Williams, Topsy Ebatarinja, Faith Malbunka, Joanne Armstrong, Danielle Shallow, Sonya Braybon, Cheyene Pareroultja
25 Sep 2019

The Tjuwanpa Women Rangers (TWR) love looking after their Country and wanted to share their experience with the local community of Hermannsburg, Northern Territory through a poster.

TWRs coordinator Sonya Braybon explained why.

‘We are always working with community but we wanted to tell the story of what we do to engage and interest others.’ Sonya said.

‘We also wanted women from other communities to see what we do and maybe inspire other women ranger groups.’

An important feature of the poster was to provide information in the Western Arrarnta language.

‘We wanted to illustrate what we do with pictures and colour and to make sure our story is told in Western Arrarnta ---as keeping language strong is one of our main goals,’ Sonya said.

The TWR were the first all women ranger group in the Northern Territory when established in 2013. They range in age from 19 to over 40 years.

‘The TWR are only women because it is about women helping other women and learning together in community on projects that are of common interest,’ Sonya said.

In recruiting to the ranger group, they look for women with an interest in working on country then explain the duties involved. These include eradication of weeds and pests, water hole monitoring, bird surveys and prescribed burning. The rangers also engage in vegetation mapping.

‘A main goal of the TWR is to work with children, youth and women of all ages from across the community so being comfortable speaking in front of a group and interacting with people is important,’ Sonya said.

‘Also, we look for women with an interest in learning how to use tools and equipment to complete jobs using chainsaws and brush-cutters and 4-wheel driving. They will be trained and certified in first aid, conservation and land management.’

Promoting the ranger group and their work has proved effective.

‘Whenever we advertise for a position we receive many candidates because women want to work on country and as a group of women---learning together,’ Sonya said.

‘With our women’s camps and support of Ntaria School’s ANZAC ride we have seen women come together of all ages to learn from elder women and from the rangers.’

‘Now when we go to recruit, applicants know who the TWRs are because they have seen or have heard of our group’s work on Country and in Community. We now find women aspire to be a ranger.’

Find out more

The National Indigenous Australians Agency supports Indigenous rangers to protect and manage their land, water and culture.

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