Connected Environments and Changing Landscapes of the ACT
and Surrounding Region – Interacting with the Ngunawal Perspective
Between November 2013 and July 2014 the Molonglo Catchment Group (MCG)
conducted a pilot series of ‘walk and talk’ events in collaboration with the
Ngunawal Australian Aboriginal community. The events were conducted at various
field locations in the ACT and surrounding region, interpreting different types
of environmental connectedness and landscape change from ancient times to the
This project is supported with funding made available by the ACT Government
under the ACT Heritage Grants Program.
The series of walks and talks presented appropriate aspects of the
relationship of Ngunawal people to territory and country, showing how the
permeability of social, cultural and ecological boundaries of changing
landscapes have affected the degree and form of coherence and connectivity
within and between environments such as swamplands, waterways, mountains and
ranges, hills, valleys and plains, and between the landscapes typical of the
tablelands, the inland and the coast.
Four ‘walk and talk’ events were designed to demonstrate how the
juxtaposition of different environments and changed landscapes influences the
experience and perception of Ngunawal territory and country.
Locations of the walk and talk events:
- Walk 1: Oaks Estate and Molonglo Gorge on the eastern border of the ACT.
- Walk 2: Oaks Estate and Beard also on the eastern border of the ACT
- Walk 3: Little Black Mountain and Sullivan's Creek in the heart of
- Walk 4: London Bridge limestone arch formation on the Burra Creek.
The Presenter/Facilitators were:
- Wally Bell of the Buru Ngunawal Aboriginal Council and Tyronne
Bell of Thunderstone Aboriginal Cultural & Land Management Services who
provided insight into Ngunawal perspectives of territory and country and how
that has been affected by the social, cultural and environmental changes
that have happened in the ACT region.
- Dr Karen Williams offered insight into her work with the Ngunawal
community that has caused her to rethink the concepts of territory, line,
space and boundary and influenced the way she interprets landscape.
- Dr Fiona Dyer applied a fresh water science perspective to the
changes that have occurred since ancient times to create the landscape we
experience and perceive in the present day.
- Dr Ken McQueen provided an earth sciences view, providing insight
into the geology and geomorphology of the of the changing landscape
The walk and talk team were ably supported with field assistance throughout
the series by Vika Vysna, Jacqui Dzundza and Paul Williams.
Benefit to the heritage of the ACT:
This walk and talk series provided opportunities for members of the Buru
Ngunawal Aboriginal Corporation to talk about Ngunawal cultural heritage and to
show the general community how to interact with and interpret the Ngunawal
cultural landscape with respect and understanding.
The Molonglo Catchment Group supported the Ngunawal community in sharing
their uniquely local interpretation of the different environments and landscapes
defining territory, based on a deep understanding of Ngunawal culture.
The intention of these ‘walk and talk’ events was to balance presentations
made by other local groups that provide sometimes very general Indigenous
perspectives built on the cultural base of people from other places.
Visit our project page on Placestories at
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