‘Gardening with fire’ on Narungga Country

Recent cultural burns on Yorke Peninsula are reconnecting Narungga people to the traditional practice of burning on Country, training local First Nations people, and facilitating the exchange of knowledge between First Nations’ people and non-Indigenous partners and land managers.

We spoke with Narungga man and leading practitioner, Peter Turner, who conducted cultural burns at Point Pearce alongside Victor Steffensen from Firesticks Alliance and described the practice on Narungga Country as “well overdue.”

Burns were conducted at Point Pearce, Minlaton/Minlagawi Gum Flat and Ardrossan grasslands, with further assessments carried out at sites initially slated for burns including Dhibara Sanctuary, Dhilbah Guuranda (Innes National Park), Rocky Bend and Warooka Property (Marawardi).

Prior to the first series of burns conducted in 2022, the Narungga people had not conducted the practice on Country since colonisation, with film crews capturing the process in efforts to raise awareness and understanding of cultural burns.

Funding for the project was secured from the Australian Government’s Preparing Australian Communities – Local Stream, designated for the series of cultural burns conducted on Narungga Country, with project management, funding and stakeholder coordination for the project organised by the Yorke Peninsula Council.