Minyumai Indigenous Protected Area
North coast, NSW | Declared in May 2011
When I walk on Minyumai... I feel very relaxed.
I don't have to look over my shoulder. Because
that's our land.
The late elder Lawrence Wilson
photos: courtesy of Minyumai Indigenous Protected Area, Chris Graves and Parks Australia.
At Minyumai Indigenous Protected Area, ancient rainforests and floodplain wetlands act as a gateway to some of the largest coastal forests of far northern New South Wales. Minyumai covers over 2,100 hectares of paperbark groves and scribbly gum, swamp mahogany and bloodwood forests - as well as rare patches of lush rainforest.
Minyumai helps form a crucial wildlife corridor of more than 20,000 hectares as it links Tabbimobile Swamp Nature Reserve with Bundjalung National Park. It is home to many animals and birds including the wallum froglet, yellow bellied glider, powerful owl and little bentwing bat. Minyumai also forms a part of the wider traditional lands of the Bandjalang clan - who have always used the property to pass between their inland country and coastal camp sites.
The Bandjalang people have managed the Minyumai area for tens of thousands of years. Despite being forced from their country for cattle grazing, they have maintained a continued connection to Minyumai through cultural law, respect and love of country. Minyumai was handed back to the Bandjalang clan in 1999 through the Indigenous Land Corporation and has since been managed by the Minyumai Land Holding Aboriginal Corporation on behalf of the Bandjalang traditional owners.
Minyumai contains several significant archaeological sites, relics and traditional hunting sites. The corporation manages Minyumai according to Geeng, which means respect of country, ancestors, elders and young people who one day will be the elders. The Indigenous Protected Area ensures cultural knowledge can be passed on to future generations while also offering training opportunities and an environment for Bandjalang community gatherings.
At Minyumai, the Bandjalang clan strive to provide a place to nurture traditional values through conservation management and the application of cultural knowledge.
The management plan in place on the property combines measures to conserve the natural heritage of Minyumai while promoting the traditional values of respect for ancestors, meeting the needs of current generations and having respect for neighbours.
Minyumai presents a strong opportunity for Bandjalang to engage in ecotourism and cross cultural exchange. The diversity of the land and compelling array of native wildlife found on the property is certain to attract visitors from all walks of life. One of the future aspirations of the Minyumai Indigenous Protected Area steering committee is to upgrade the Minjehla track for the local community and tourists.
The plan has identified actions for conserving Minyumai's unique ecosystems through environmentally sound infrastructure improvements, weed and feral animal management and developing a fire management plan in collaboration with neighbours, particularly the National Parks and Wildlife Service, in collaboration with the Rural Fire Service.
Priorities under the plan include preventing the potential spread of cane toads and other pest species, training rangers to carry out weed and feral animal management to world standards to help the populations of threatened species, regenerating cleared areas , protecting natural waterways and wetlands, improving access, and establishing productive gardens and nurseries.
Minyumai was declared an Indigenous Protected Area on 19 August 2011 and will be managed under International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Categories IV (Habitat Species Management Area) and VI (Protected Area with sustainable use of natural resources). Like all of Australia's Indigenous Protected Areas, Minyumai is part of Australia's National Reserve System - our nation's most secure way of protecting our cultural heritage and healthy habitat for future generations. The Australian Government supports the work of Minyumai Indigenous Protected Area through its Indigenous Protected Areas program, part of the Caring for Our Country initiative.