The University of Newcastle, Australia

Igniting a Connection to Traditional Culture

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Students and staff joined the Broke community in a traditional cultural burn to experience how Aboriginal land management practices enhance the health of the land and its people.

students and staff at the cultural immersion
Development Studies students Mary-Anne Gooch, Zoe Lewis and Jake Stephens (left, middle and right) with University of Newcastle Environmental Manager Daan Schiebaan (second from left) and supporter Roy Palmer (second from right) at the Broke bushfire prevention cultural burn.

We were invited to this unique event by Roy Palmer, a passionate environmental advocate and a long term University supporter who has chosen to leave a gift in his will to support Indigenous students.

Bachelor of Development Studies students gained valuable insights into Aboriginal bushfire prevention and weed management. Cultural burning involves  applying fire to the bush in a controlled and methodical way where the fire acts like water trickling through the country. A ‘cool' fire preserves the canopy of trees that provide shade, fruit, flowers and seeds. During the fire, insects and other small animals can crawl up the trees to safety, while ants and snakes can retreat down into their nests.

It really opened my eyes to a gentler method of land management. A powerful reminder of what Country means to our nation’s Indigenous people,” - Daan Schiebaan, University of Newcastle Environmental Manager

Sincere thanks to Roy Palmer and the Koori Country Firesticks Aboriginal Corporation for this special experience.

If you have an immersion opportunity you can offer to inspire and support our students, please let us know via or by calling 02 4921 8612

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