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Western Desert Indigenous Women

30th May 2024

Last Updated: 4th March 2023

Wednesday 22nd March the Year 7 and Year 12 students were extremely lucky to attend an incursion presented by a group of six Western Desert Indigenous women. Some of the women live in such a remote part of Western Australia that it took three days travel, by car, to reach Perth airport.   

The women presented a slide show of how they each manage and care for the land. The women who are rangers, from several different areas in Western Australia, look after “Women Sacred Sites” along with caring for the environment via re planting and controlled burn offs. The rangers also care for Indigenous wildlife in the outback including a program of translocation, making sure that our endangered animals do not become extinct in other states of Australia. 

All of the women who visited today are Western Desert rangers, and as part of this program have the opportunity to continually learn different skills that will help them in the outback, for example 4WD driving, first aid and land management. The women also spend time educating children and young adults through school visits in their communities.   

Our students were very interested and had many questions. It was a rare opportunity for our students to be able to meet and hear about the Indigenous women of Australia and learn all that they do for our land and animals. 

The women were visiting as part of a pilot leadership program to develop their leadership, confidence, and public speaking abilities with the aim of strengthening the voice of indigenous women and Indigenous rangers throughout Australia. The Thin Green Line and Indigenous Desert Alliance offer a sincere thanks to the school for helping the women on this journey.

Being able to participate in this pilot project was incredibly empowering for this group of women. It’s easy to see how their involvement in this project will have a huge impact on their capacity as leaders, both professionally and within their communities back home. Creating pathways between communities and rangers is crucial for the success of conservation efforts, and programs like this are the future of conservation and community development. It is hoped that with enough funding and support it can be run on an annual basis.

The women later presented in front of the Lord Mayor of Melbourne and other dignitaries at Federation Square, where they spoke fondly and proudly of their visit to Mornington Secondary College.

We are very grateful that these women visited Mornington Secondary College and thank Kylie Wiersma for organising the event.