Don Rowlands is a Wangkangurru Yarluyandi elder and has been a park ranger of the Munga-Thirri National Park for over 20 years. In a quest to conserve the knowledge he’s acquired over his lifetime, he’s working to create a database system to document and provide access to Indigenous Australian information and knowledge of the Simpson Desert.

Working collaboratively with an anthropologist, a linguist and an archaeologist, Rowlands will spend time in the desert, mapping the country through the lens of Indigenous knowledge. The result will be a database keeping in one place a record of story, sites, culture, language and songs about country, reports the ABC.

In addition to this, Don also wants to create an app that tourists can use to learn more about the areas they are traveling across, to have access to Indigenous knowledge of the area.

Anthropologist Peter Sutton will be taking part in the research and identifies the huge importance of this project, to ensure these complex and very current knowledge systems are not lost. This database will be imperative in conserving in-depth cultural knowledge and songlines, which will also play an important part in the education of future generations.

Don Rowland’s work to culminate this knowledge into one place will be hugely beneficial to all Australians, as well as to people who wish to travel to these regions and would like to have a deeper understanding of the culture embedded in this land.


Feature photo by Bruce Atkinson for the ABC

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