Alan, years ago rangers in Top End parks commonly had a trade background - I
knew some who were fitters and turners, plumbers and boilermakers. They
requested that I train them. It never happened. However, I was involved in
the training of long-term unemployed, some of whom wished to become rangers,
and also Jawoyn rangers for Nitmiluk Gorge.
The training of the long-term unemployed was an eye-opener. I was given four
hours to teach them about native plants and their usage. Six weeks later while
out at Holmes Jungle with some clients I saw a a couple of dozen people led by
one of these trainees. He raced up to me, saying excitedly that he now had a
job. Armed with a Conservation Commission booklet he was teaching students
Training of the Jawoyn rangers went well, except that Con Comm was not really
interested, and only three of the thirteen wonderful, smart, knowledgeable
young men and women, got jobs.
A few years ago I noticed a ranger I knew was missing from Fogg Dam. When I
inquired I was told he was forced out of his job. After that several rangers,
traditional owners for the parks in which they were working, complained to me
that they were being, or had been squeezed out. Some said that supervisors with
little knowledge of the subject, laid down the law about how they should
approach weed control, for example. Two resigned after months of such
All, including some who’d been in their positions for a decade or more, said
they’d been promised wage rises or promotion if they moved to other parks.
They worried about such moves because these parks weren’t their traditional
lands. It also meant in some cases that they had to uproot their families.
Even when they acquiesced several told me that the wages and promotions did not
materialise, and asked me to help. I approached two NT ministers (in the
previous government) that I know well. Both were concerned and one sent senior
public servants out to talk with some of the rangers. But of course, little
happened. it’s the culture and policy and regulation that needs to change.
All the rangers who complained to me have now left Parks & Wildlife. Some now
work as tour operators and one is now driving trucks for Inpex. Others are not
working at all.
Some years ago there was a push to have more indigenous people working in
Kakadu. I thought this meant that traditional owners were going to be employed
- after all they knew the fauna and flora etc. So imagine my surprise to find
that my next door neighbour, a Larrakia man, who as far as I knew had little
bush knowledge (he’d been working in town as a chef, if I remember correctly),
was driving the boats at Yellow Waters. He said many others so employed were
from elsewhere. It must be said though that Michael worked very hard and
became a most competent guide and boat operator.
Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow Ph.D., B.A., Grad. Dip.
PO Box 71
Darwin River, NT, Australia 0841
043 8650 835
On 8 Sep 2018, at 11:11 am, Laurie Knight <> wrote:
> It helps if people give feedback to the rangers after they visit the parks,
> particularly if they go to parts that the rangers don’t normally get to. I
> generally give the rangers a call when I have been bushwalking off track.
> Regards, Laurie.
>> On 8 Sep 2018, at 7:50 am, Alan Gillanders <>
>> Yes Martin is correct but I also feel for the staff who have little
>> connection with the parks they manage because we have grown the estate while
>> cutting the staff numbers. They do not know what is going on in their parks
>> as they have their heads down all the time picking up litter and cleaning
>> On 8/09/2018 7:34 AM, Martin Butterfield wrote:
>>> That is an egregious example of poor planning and operational management
>>> etc. Any idea how many other breeding species were affected?
>>> Martin Butterfield
>>> On Fri, 7 Sep 2018 at 19:00, Tony Ashton <> wrote:
>>>> A sombre Hi all,
>>>> A Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service burn in Town Common Conservation
>>>> Park yesterday destroyed an active Osprey nest - with, possibly, loss of
>>>> unseen eggs or young (female on and off nest for several months). Dead nest
>>>> tree fell. Only one of the three resident Ospreys close by today. Probably
>>>> last year's youngster, late and yet to go off on its own, nervily calling
>>>> and being harassed by Black Kites looking for after-burn pickings.
>>>> Tony Ashton
>>>> (pictures: blog: tyto tony fbook: Tony Ashton)
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