Gumbaynggirr Land Management walk with Mark Flanders, Urunga, 8 April 2015 Bellinger LandCare
Uncle Mark Flanders has been my guest at Naked Lunch for the last two years and is great communicator.
Marksays that the traditional way of life has gone, and much knowledge has been lost, but they are working, using all available resources to get back as much knowledge as possible. One step forward is better than one step back. In this region, Europeans arrived late in proceedings, but many Gumbaynggirr were already dead from measles and chicken pox that travelled up and down the coast.
They moved about in family groups and didn’t deplete resources. The bush was their calendar. The paperbarks are now flowering; this is when the large mullet enter the estuaries.
“When I go and look at the country I imagine it as it was before Europeans arrived.”
“Become one with the environment, feel the place. You’ll start to look at the landscape in a new way.”
Weeds are a huge problem. There would have been shade here, Casuarinas and Pandanus, now weeds like Bitou and Glory Lily flourish. (The Bitou fruit is small and black and mostly seed, and as I learnt today tastes of Vegemite.)