Nowanup Caretakers

The Nowanup Caretakers (Rangers) program has been healing landscapes and communities since 2015.

The program is based on-Country at Nowanup, this means there is plenty of opportunity for the intergenerational transfer of knowledge, and landcare can be implemented in culturally meaningful ways that provide a sense of purpose and worth for Noongar people.

Now is pivotal time – the Elders who not only led the community through difficult times, but also retain considerable cultural and ecological knowledge, are still available to teach and re-build Noongar culture.

Noongar elder Eugene Eades has been at the heart of Nowanup since 2006. Even in those early days, Eugene wanted to develop an Aboriginal ranger team that could support the cultural work and ecological restoration on Nowanup and across the region. His dream was twofold, to build the leaders of the future through encouragement, financial stability and the transfer of knowledge and skills; and to provide ecological and cultural exchange services to the broader community.

The Nowanup Ranger program proper was launched during the tree planting season of 2015 when the initial team planted seedlings for Greening Australia at many restoration sites. For the first couple of years the rangers worked on a casual basis but in 2017, a year-round Nowanup Ranger team was established with funding from the State NRM program, generous philanthropic donations and fee-for-service contracts. This team was coordinated by Eugene and Errol Eades and administered by Gondwana Link.

Eco-cultural Restoration

Once part of a larger sheep farm, Nowanup was purchased in 2004 by the National Trust of WA for the purpose of protecting its 400 ha of bush and restoring the 350 ha of cleared land as part of the Gondwana Link program.

Revegetation work on Nowanup’s cleared farmland quickly got underway with the removal of nine kilometers of internal farm fencing. By winter 2004 trials of brush mulching and direct seeding had begun, and by 2015 virtually all the cleared land was under some form of revegetation.

Photo Credit: Suzie Thompson
The mia mia’s are sited along the walk trails at special places around Nowanup and are used in the traditional style yarning circles or for quiet contemplation.

Now for the first time the Lotterywest grant provides financial stability for the Caretaker team, and means there is a platform to build more partnerships and opportunities.

Yorga Caretakers

Although the Caretaker Team has mostly comprised men, a yorga team first emerged in 2019-20 with funding from Greening Australia/Woodside for a seed collecting project.

The recent Lotterywest funds have now provided a small amount of funding to establish a Nowanup Yorga Caretaker team.

The development of a solid team will likely involve time with elders on-Country in an emotionally safe environment with a strong social support network focusing on women’s health and empowerment.

This will enable the cultural knowledge to be passed on to the younger generations.

Other needs that aim to be addressed include:


  • increased capacity in decision-making around women’s responsibilities to care for Country, and development of women related tourism opportunities (cultural cookups, cultural tours, camps and workshops),
  • preparation of Indigenous products (propagating native seedlings for medicines and food), and
  • increased contribution of women to the cultural connection camps at Nowanup.

What they do on and off site

  • The restoration of degraded farmland (through seed picking and replanting) across the central Gondwana Link located between the Stirling and the Fitzgerald National Parks.
  • Land management of Nowanup property such as fire break maintenance, infill planting, cultural burning and walk trail construction and mainentance.
  • Support the cultural connection and education camps through preparation and clean up
  • Local landcare groups including Greening Australia, Bush Heritage Australia and Fitzgerald Biosphere Group both Support and contract the Nowanup Ranger team to work on landcare projects.
  • Caring for elders.
  • Caring for culturally important heritage sites in the local area and conducting cultural surveys.
  • Training in Conservation and Indigenous Land Management at TAFE.

Seasonal Work Calendar of the Caretakers.

Based around the Noongar seasons

Rangers Seasonal Calendar

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