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  2. James Murray's escape to Arnhem Land, and Cate Kennedy on short stories
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Murray's unflinching eye takes in the fallout left by the wrecking ball of unquestioning materialism, and his observations are acute, honest and at times uncomfortably spot on. He plumbs these assumptions from the car-less, people-less tranquility of a solitary nine-day bushwalk, and we are there with him every step of the way: across remote gorges and into creeks, on escarpments and past rock drawings, listening to his impassioned arguments, ideas and insights, the recounting of old conversations and new possibilities, breakdowns and breakthroughs.

It's a rich, intriguing, candid mix — Murray is one hitchhiker I would definitely pick up.

The history of religion: particularly of the principal denominations of Christians, I love this work, being on country, looking after country. This work demonstrated what we have always known. Caring for your country makes you healthier. After three hours of walking in the heat of the day we come out onto a clear, recently burnt patch of the floodplain and spot some buffalo wandering in the distance.

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Controlling the population of buffalo is as important as monitoring the mimosa. They carry the seeds on their coats for miles and then trample them into the soil. In the wet season the rangers actively cull the beasts, often from the air; in the dry, the hunt is more opportunistic. Despite industry lobbyists spruiking the potential benefits of selling buffalo meat, the rangers remain determined to get rid of the buffalo.

People upset. The frustration with buffalo reflects a wider concern with the displacement of native species caused by feral animals.


Get rid of them. This country belong to kangaroo and emu and brolga, not cat or cane toad or buffalo. Before returning to Maningrida, the rangers shoot a buffalo on the floodplain and efficiently strip the animal of its flesh as eagles gather and circle above. They stop at the outstation to exchange news about the mimosa outbreaks and distribute the meat to the landowners, keeping two legs for a barbeque at the ranger shed.

James Murray's escape to Arnhem Land, and Cate Kennedy on short stories

Soon as when the buffalo got here. Buffalo and pigs. They moved in and that time everything was changing. Visual artist Alexander Boynes draws inspiration from this convergence of tradition and technology to add another dimension to the painting workshops at Djinkarr. He uses technologies such as depth mapping and 3D imaging to create installations with Aboriginal dancers about caring for country.

The result is a dazzling, electric display of movement and sound, in which figures are broken up into lines and dots and primary colours. Laura has perhaps the most challenging task as an artist. For her, live performance is key.

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Singing and movement are natural expressions of connections to country. One hunches over an iPad, softly singing and drawing a digital image of red clouds and a polluted sea, which is projected onto the performance. It is the story of a songline being broken by increasingly wild storms. And the reaction from younger generations in the community is immediate. It is their life on this land. And the stroke of a pen or the government of the day cannot undo or change sixty thousand years of life on this land. Once more, Bininj are being forced to come off country and into towns. The shift presents new cultural, ecological and social problems, which the landholders and rangers are trying to tackle with their Djelk Healthy Country Plan.

The Indigenous ranger programs, created in the final decades of the twentieth century, have empowered a generation of men and women to care for their country. The rangers are recognised as expert managers of their lands, harnessing modern tools and knowledge to refine long-established practices and skills.

Today, Aboriginal land managers are looking after some of the most biologically intact and culturally rich landscapes in the world. And because of the fabric of interconnections, the programs are also making important contributions to health, education and local economies, and offering meaningful employment to young men and women who want to stay on country. The Bininj recognise the immensity of the challenges ahead and they are seeking long-term support and funding for their programs.

But they no listening back.

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This essay grows out of a short-term, independent art and environment initiative known as The Arnhembrand Project. This essay was amended on 29 May to include a correction to the number of rangers employed by the Djelk Ranger program ,which is thirty. The earlier version suggested 'more than sixty', which was incorrectly sourced from the Djelk Healthy Country Plan — This version now reflects the actual number of employees.

Lowe, Jaqueline Matthews, and S. Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review. List this Seller's Books. Payment Methods accepted by seller. Stock Image. Published by Transit Lounge, Used Condition: Good Soft cover.

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Save for Later. About this Item Book is in a good condition. Cover shows slight wear from reading and storage. Tanning to pages due to age.