A NSW Government website

Cultural Fire Management Unit

The Buugang Wambal project

The Cultural Fire Management Unit supports 10 Aboriginal community-led projects in NSW. These projects embed traditional knowledge in land management practices, including the use of cultural fire. They also provide evidence that will help to develop a statewide cultural fire management strategy. Aboriginal land management programs, including those that incorporate cultural burning, have the potential to provide social, economic and cultural benefits in addition to their environmental outcomes.

The Cultural Fire Management Unit was formed after the inquiry into the 2019–20 bushfires recommended the NSW Government adopt traditional Aboriginal land management practices in partnership with Aboriginal communities. Cultural burning is one component of a broader cultural approach to respectful, collaborative and effective land management practices in planning and preparing for bushfire. The approach simultaneously serves to heal Country and make it healthier in the long term.

Cultural land management | Buugang Wambal

A collaborative conservation effort led by the Walgalu and Wiradjuri people.

The Buugang Wambal project

The Buugang Wambal project is a collaborative conservation effort led by the Walgalu and Wiradjuri people. The project will protect 3 critically endangered species in the Tumut and Snowy Mountains areas.

The project is one of 10 supported by our Cultural Fire Management Unit. The unit facilitates local Aboriginal communities getting on Country to incorporate traditional knowledge in land management practices on traditional lands and waters.

A member of the Buugang Wambal team looks over the Bogong Mountain landscape

The Tumut grevillea

Local Walgalu-Wiradjuri women are leading efforts to conserve the Tumut grevillea, which grows sparingly in a narrow stretch of land around Tumut. The grevillea is culturally significant to the women of the local Aboriginal community because it typically grows in and around women’s sites.

Conservation work has involved collecting seeds from plants in the Tumut area and planting seedlings on Crown reserves. These efforts demonstrate how environmental outcomes are improved when Aboriginal communities are connected to Country.

Tumut grevillea flower

Corroboree frogs

Walgalu-Wiradjuri men are working to save the northern and southern corroboree frogs that reside in alpine areas of the Snowy Mountains. Some of the most visually stunning frog species in the world, the ‘gyak’ also hold great cultural value for the local Aboriginal community. Local Aboriginal groups would call out to the frogs before approaching the Bogong moth caves and would only proceed if the frogs granted permission by calling back.

The men have constructed artificial habitats for the frogs, which have been repaired and improved following bushfire damage. The project has also partnered with Taronga Zoo to release frogs bred in captivity into the wild.

Newly released corroboree frog