Regenerating land & community – Mungalla Station

If you’re ever lucky enough to be in northern Queensland, there’s a place we think is well worth a visit. See why Mungalla Station was a worthy recipient of an Australian Ethical Community Grant.

All photography by Renée Liddle

About 100km north of Townsville on land adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef, there’s a special place called Mungalla Station, which has a rich cultural history. The station hosts a story of association between the first European settlers in the area and the traditional Nywaigi peoples.

The Mungalla Aboriginal Corporation for Business now chooses to share the rich history and culture of the local people through tours to the public, also showcasing 230 hectares of wetland restoration projects on the property.

In 2014, the Mungalla Aboriginal Corporation for Business was granted an Australian Ethical Community Grant for $20,000. The funds specifically supported the up-skilling of unemployed Indigenous youth for the positive environmental and social outcomes of Mungalla station, as well as to help continue to verbally pass-on the rich cultural history of the Nywaigi.

The traditional Nywaigi lived in harmony with the environment according to their Tjukurpa ­­– a complex set of laws and beliefs (and for which there is no equivalent English word) that was strictly followed to maintain society, ecology, and culture. Their local culture was passed on orally, through dance and art, and is closely connected to the natural history and beauty of the area. This is why the tours are so important – to help preserve their culture and pass it onto future generations.

ZorranImage [right]: 19-year old Zorran is a Nywaigi man who was recently employed at Mungalla Station. He helped plant over 3,000 trees, and has shown over 200 international students around the biodiversity and wetland restoration projects on the land.

The funding support provided has given Mungalla the opportunity to employ a local Nywaigi traditional owner, who has since the start of this year implemented conservation efforts and planted over 3,000 trees on Mungalla Station, managed nine work-for-the-dole participants, and educated over 200 international students and school groups on biodiversity and wetland restoration.

JacobJacob Cassady, Nywaigi traditional owner [pictured, right], says it was “a real challenge” setting up the organisation on a tight budget initially, which is where funding support from Australian Ethical came in.

“The grant from Australian Ethical meant that we could invest in human resources and training for employees in environmental conservation and the rehabilitation of the land here on Mungalla Station,” says Jacob.

“We are also now able to educate students and local, regional and international visitors via our tourism enterprise.”Billabong

The recent grant also supported the traditional owners in continuing to work on the biodiversity restoration projects for the wetlands. After our grant, Mungalla Station has grown to support training people from all over Queensland, and has seen groups of overseas visitors come to the area to hear what is an overwhelmingly encouraging story of cultural connection in Australia.

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Mungalla Station is having an Open Day on Friday 2 October 2015, but you can arrange to visit as a small or large group just about any other time of year. Be sure to call ahead and make a booking. For more info, visit www.mungallaaboriginaltours.com.au.
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Australian Ethical’s Community Grants
Now in its 14th year, our grants program continues to support organisations working in the sustainability and social justice sector and visionary organisations working towards an ethical, sustainable future.

Since the inception of the grants program, Australian Ethical has provided over $1.5 million in funding, which constitutes 10% of Australian Ethical’s annual profits donated. This is one of the highest percentages of corporate giving in Australia.

TreesPhil Vernon, Managing Director Australian Ethical, says, “our support for sustainability and social justice is at the heart of what we do. Through our community grants program, we’re delighted to provide much-needed support to organisations in the fields of technology, healthcare, education, energy and all businesses working towards a more positive and sustainable future.”

Grants are awarded to organisations conducting activities in Australia or overseas who deliver impactful, tangible outcomes that are in-line with the Australian Ethical Charter (for more info on our Charter, click here).Bullrushes

Keep an eye out for the next round of 2015 Community Grant recipients, due to be announced in October.

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