RCCBG and our Indeginous Programme

We are extremely proud of what has been achieved to date and the programme now forms an integral part of our portfolio.

It all started in 2010 when our member Dr George Wilson, a Wildlife ecologist and Veterinarian, introduced the Club to the work he was undertaking in central Australia in developing wildlife management, resource management and restoration of traditional lands with indigenous communities. We became involved with one such project at Angas Downs (AD), a 720,000 hectare property near Uluru, NT which had been returned to the Imanpa (Anangu tribe) community as tribal lands. His work inspired us to participate principally in the emu breeding programme, removal of camels, and protection of the waterholes. We also funded scientific work such as the acquisition of reptile cameras and other remote cameras. On several visits to AD we investigated and photographed previously undiscovered rock paintings in remote gorges on the property.

The success of the AD project became well documented and the Nari Nari tribe of Hay NSW asked the Club in 2013 to assist with the restoration of their tribal lands which straddle the Murrumbidgee River where their totem waterbirds are now endangered.

Over several years the Club worked under the guidance of member Dr George Wilson on Environment Projects with the Matutjara clan (Pitjinjara) at Angas Downs NT.
This is an Indigenous Protected Area owned by the Matutjara whose community at Imanpa was one of the first to be controlled after the Federal Intervention in 2007. They asked for assistance with their enormous IPA (about 750,000 acres)  as they had limited knowledge of how to improve it after centuries of over grazing and recent degradation caused by feral camels, horses and  erosion.
We worked with the onsite Manager Tim, who was a skilled bushman and had worked hard to train indigenous rangers and had started fencing off the important areas, including water courses and rock art.
Over several years, and on site working bees by our Club members, we achieved quite a lot. Some of the achievements were:
•completed fencing of water holes with tall steel fence rods, to stop degradation by camels but allow access by kangaroos and native species which can crawl under the bottom rail. The return of prolific numbers of birds  such as budgerigars, was an amazing side outcome.
•installation of solar panels and water pumps to provide new watering holes for the native animals.
•involvement in camel elimination.
•establishment of a Emu breeding programme with emu chicks flown in from WA, establishment of hatchery with an incubator, breeding pens, and release programme.
•assistance with cultural artwork shop at the nearby Ebbenezer  road house.
•assistance and support provided to schools in Imanpa and liaison with elders. We visited the school twice and took a medical general practitioner for advice on obvious health issues amongst the children.
•aerial surveys with elders as passengers. This involved  exploration of new areas and discovery of new rock art sites.
•arranging University research into the art sites discovered by club members.
An extremely rewarding project which was prematurely brought to an end when the holding company went into liquidation and the Central Land Council took over control.

Rotary Scholarships for Indigenous Students at Hay War Memorial High School


Since 2014 the Club has been providing four annual scholarships for Indigenous students at Hay War Memorial High School. Each scholarship is valued at $500.

Students are selected on the basis of scholarly achievement, participation in school activities and need. The intention is to motivate the students to high achievement and further study.

The scholarships are administered by the school and are used to assist students with costs like school excursions, books and equipment and other educational expenses.

In 2016 the Club organised and funded a three-day excursion to Canberra by Indigenous students from Hay and Balranald. Twelve senior high school students visited national institution as well as the University of Canberra and the Canberra Institute of Technology.

Most recently the Club was represented at the Hay War Memorial High School Annual Awards day in December 2019 by John and Helen Grant.

One shows John presenting a chequer $2,000.00 to the school Principal Mr Yvan Chambers. This is to provide the four scholarships of $500.00 for 2020.

One shows John presenting certificates to each of the scholarship winners for 2020.

One shows Helen and John with Ms Anne McNally, the School’s Career Adviser who administers the scholarships and is the Club’s key contact person.

2015 Update

One of the big achievements this year has been the establishment of 2 Charitable Trusts with Tax Deductible status to support our Indigenous Projects. These are The Canberra Burley Griffin Rotary Club Indigenous Projects Trust ( Public Fund – Educations) and (Public Fund – Environment). The first Trust is in a healthy state and supporting 2 scholarships a year. The second will have a lot of work later this year after our next fundraising project.

The major projects undertaken in the past years are:
1. Angas Downs – Indigenous Protected Area

2. The Nari Nari Tribe of Hay NSW
The club is funding two scholarships for students to undertake support in their studies.  These funds typically fund technology for the selected students.