• Meet the Unkya rangers (NITV News)Source: NITV News
Meet the Unkya Rangers, defenders of Gumbaynggirr country in Numbucca Heads on the NSW mid-north coast. With a love of their job and a passion for the land, they are revitalising local language and culture.
Danny Teece-Johnson

23 Sep 2015 - 10:58 AM  UPDATED 23 Sep 2015 - 12:05 PM

Natalie Ahmat: When we think of Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers, its easy to imagine they only exist in the traditional parts of Northern Australia. But all around the country Indigenous Rangers are revitalising language and culture.

Danny Teece-Johnson travelled to Nambucca Heads on the NSW mid-north coast to meet the Unkya Rangers.

Danny Teece-Johnson: As I travel around this big Island of Australia, some of the happiest mob I meet are Indigenous Rangers - I mean they are doing what they love: looking after country.

Michael Donovan Jnr: The best bit about it is to teach the young fellas and wider community that our cultures is still alive and well in this area.

Bee Jarrett-Donovan: I like the cultural aspect of it [and] also sharing the knowledge with people. It’s also empowering you know: it gives you that sense of identity, of who you are.

Dominic Craig: It’s something where, even though you know a lot, you are always learning and that’s part of, learning about your culture and your country.

Danny Teece-Johnson: Meet the Unkya Rangers, defenders of Gumbaynggirr country.

Michael Donovan Snr: The Unkya local Aboriginal Land Council and the Nambucca Heads Local Aboriginal Land Council are joint are owners in common of the land that makes up Gaagal Wanggaan South Beach National Park.

When the guides do the tours, they do some of the language, let people know the language to country and language. Some of the stories they tell them, you know, for example is the whale table talk: Gurraja is whale in Gumbaynggirr language.

"It’s something where, even though you know a lot, you are always learning and that’s part of, learning about your culture and your country."

Danny Teece-Johnson: As the young rangers walked me around the coastline, showing me local bush tucker and sharing local stories - I was reminded of what a meaningful career pathway this is for mob who just want to be on country.

Michael Donovan Jnr: This plant here is the yams. This is what the women also dig for with the yam sticks. So where ever these leaves are, you follow it down to the roots. That’s the yams. And that’s a delicacy.

Danny Teece-Johnson: And for the Uncles and Aunties of these young Rangers who have been teaching them, it brings back old saltwater memories of living in the Nambucca Valley.

Aunty Cheryl Donovan: Everyone used to go over there and we’d live off the land. We’d get bush tucker, fish and damper and all of that. That was one way of surviving all those years and when we caught fish and things, they’d be share around amongst all the families on the mission there at Bellwood. We helped each other survive all those years.

Danny Teece-Johnson: But the tour wouldnt be complete without some Gumbayngirr bush tucker with a modern twist. I'll let my boy have the last word on that.

Danny Teece-Johnson, getting my ranger on for NITV News.