• Queensland’s first cultural all-women planned burn (QLD Government)Source: QLD Government
Bummiera on Minjerribah-North Stradbroke Island is a culturally significant ceremonial place for Quandamooka women. Recently, it was also the location of the first all-women led controlled burn in the state.
Rae Johnston

13 Jul 2020 - 2:12 PM  UPDATED 13 Jul 2020 - 2:26 PM

The first all-women team of Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers led a planned burn at Bummiera-Brown Lake recently, a women's place for the Quandamooka people on Minjerribah.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) auxiliary firefighters and a female Rural Fire Service (RFS) firefighter supported the burn team, along with staff from Minjerribah Camping and SEQ Water.

Joint Management Ranger Kathryn Crouch said the burn would both reduce fuel and aid recovery of culturally significant plant species.

"A planned burn reduces the amount of fuel that is lying on the forest floor which could later be fuel for a wildfire," said Ms Crouch.

"We know from recent science and also from thousands of years of traditional knowledge, that hazard reduction burns often not only reduce the severity of bushfires but can reduce the risk of an outbreak."  

This particular burn, however, had another significance. 

"The purpose of the burn is to do land management in an all-women's area," said Ms Crouch.

"Traditional Owners have been conducting controlled burns for thousands of years and to have an all-women team, many of whom are First Nations people, at this place of cultural significance for women is truly a special moment that deserves to be recognised and honoured."

Ms Crouch said the idea for an all-women team to conduct the burn came up during a fire and pest management meeting.

"We decided what better place, at a women's place at Brown Lake, so we're here. All of us, from Queensland Parks and Wildlife, SEQWater, Kayak, QFES and Rurals," said Ms Crouch. 

The burn also provided opportunities for connections to be made. 

"So far it's been awesome, this morning, just along with the Elders and the meet and the greet and meeting all these people we didn't know yesterday," said Ms Crouch.

"It was great because, you know, a lot of time we're at different fires. And we're a minority you know - the women. So all you've got is men to talk to. So it was really nice to have a whole heap of women together, to swap stories.

"It's a bit nerve-wracking at times, and there are times where you just want to give up, but the encouragement I've had from different people and different colleagues with who I work with have pushed me along. Same with a few of the girls I've been communicating with and giving me advice and sort of training me in what to do, it's been great."

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