Culture and conservation on Cape York Peninsula

We are collaborating with the Wuthathi Land Trust on a project to foster Indigenous traditional knowledge and help protect Shelburne Bay in Cape York.

We are collaborating with the Wuthathi Land Trust on a unique project to foster Indigenous traditional knowledge and help protect Shelburne Bay in Cape York, one of Australia’s most spectacular areas. The project is support by The Myer Foundation and The Christensen Fund.

With the aim of restoring culturelinks to country,  this project  brings together Wuthathi Traditional Owners, young and old, from from across far north Queensland, to share cultural knowledge and continue to plan for the long-term management of their traditional homelands for both cultural and natural values and sustainable economic development.

"This cultural regeneration project is another step towards our aspirations to preserve and pass on Wuthathi culture and traditions. It is also means we are a step closer to developing plans, underpinned by Wuthathi traditional knowledge, that will help us to sustainably use and manage our homeland estate," Wuthathi Land Trust representative Ray Wallis said.

"Wuthathi people want to put in place the pieces of information that will help us develop our lands sustainably. We are negotiating native title, national park and the return of freehold lands to the Wuthathi Land Trust from the Commonwealth and Queensland governments. Once we finalise these discussions it will be important we are ready to manage our protected areas and develop economic initiatives that fit with our aspirations. So this project is really important".

We fully support the incorporation of Indigenous land management techniques and knowledge, with contemporary approaches to conservation. It better protects biodiversity and culture," says ACF Cape York officer Leah Talbot.

The Christensen Fund generously granted $US50,000 towards the project. "The Christensen Fund believes the world’s cultural and biological diversity is priceless. The Christensen Fund objective is to strengthen local groups on the ground. And in Cape York Peninsula they are interlinked and must be maintained. So, we are pleased to support such a worthwhile project with fantastic partners," said The Christiansen Fund's program offiver Henrietta Marrie.

Futher funding partners include The Myer Foundation and the Federal Government.

For the Wuthathi, returning to country and restoring cultural practices and managing the landscape is an ongoing process. Wuthathi hope to establish a permanent presence on country for cultural purposes and management of land and sea resources.

Shelbourne Bay is the last intact parabolic dune field of its type left in Australia. Other natural silica dune fields along Australia’s east coast have been subject to mining. Wuthathi Traditional Owners are eager to establish an Aboriginal owned national park following final a Native Title determination.