Noongar families joined staff and students from The University of Western Australia in an Acknowledgement of Gnaala Karla Boodja ceremony followed by lunch hosted at UWA Farm Ridgefield on November 4 2017.
UWA Farm Ridgefield, a 1600 hectare farm near Pingelly, is located on Gnaala Karla Boodja with Noongar people tracing their connections back 45,000 years.
Noongar Elders Merv Abraham and Gary Bennell performed the Welcome to Country at the Old Farmhouse in front of a group of 30 people including their family members, the Pingelly community and UWA staff and students.
UWA Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Community & Engagement) Professor Kent Anderson unveiled a sign acknowledging that UWA Farm Ridgefield is situated on Gnaala Karla Boodja, and that the Noongar people remain the spiritual and cultural custodians of the land, and continue to practise their values, languages, beliefs and knowledge.
Adjunct Senior Lecturer Dr Susan Bailey from The UWA Institute of Agriculture who organised the event alongside the Elders has worked steadily over the past five years to build relationships and trust through a community development process.
“This Acknowledgement is an important foundation for UWA’s commitment to understanding and working alongside Noongar people,” Dr Bailey said.
“This includes challenging non-Indigenous people to recognise Indigenous knowledge, culture and values.”
Community development is an important part of the UWA’s vision to imagine the best-practice farm of 2050, and build and manage it now. Vibrant rural communities are essential component of sustainable agriculture.