88,000 hectares of NSW wetland has been legally transferred to its rightful and spiritual owners, the Nari Nari People and Tribal Council.


Gayini, an ancient wetland and floodplain to the Murrumbidgee River in far west NSW, has finally been legally returned to the Nari Nari people, after more than 150 years of dispossession. The Nature Conservancy has legally transferred the land to its Traditional Custodians, after it passed through many different hands. 

The 88,000 hectare property is home to an abundance of wildlife, in particular freshwater birds such as spoonbills and ibises (so that’s where they actually live), which can be spotted in colonies reaching tens of thousands. In fact, Gayini has been dubbed ‘the Kakadu of the south’ because of its ecological significance and diversity. How cool’s that! 

The area also holds heaps of culturally significant Aboriginal sites, like ancient burial grounds and sacred canoe scar trees. 

Over the last 150 years, some parts of Gayini have been developed for agricultural use, which are still crucial to the industry today. The Nari Nari people’s management of the land includes balancing sustainable agriculture, with the conservation of wildlife, habitat and cultural sites. This is likely to come in the form of low-impact grazing which’ll help fund the conservation of the rest of the property. 

There’s heaps we can learn from Indigenous cultures about ways of living and ecology. The Nari Nari Tribal Council plans to establish the Gayini Centre for Two-Way Learning on the property, for shared learning between Aboriginal and western cultures. There are also plans for ecotourism opportunities in the future, including private experiences and volunteer programs. Sign us up! 

Gayini is an ecological and cultural treasure that’ll now receive the true care and custodianship it deserves. You bloody ripper!


Feature photo courtesy of Annette Ruzicka and The Nature Conservancy