Australian Defence Force (ADF) and United States Marine Corps personnel recently attended an annual culture camp run by traditional owners of the Bradshaw and Timber Creek communities.
CAPTION: Bradshaw traditional owner Lorraine Jones speaks with Deputy Director of SA/NT Training Area Management Lieutenant Colonel Adam Boyd and contracted caretaker of Bradshaw field training area Tim Zerna.
Located within the Bradshaw field training area about 620km south-west of Darwin, the camp offered unique insights into traditional hunting, cultural and ceremonial aspects.
The camp was a testament to the close relationship formed through the Bradshaw Partnering Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA).
Bradshaw traditional owner and chair of the Bradshaw liaison committee Lorraine Jones said the ILUA ensured sacred sites were protected.
“When the ILUA was established a couple of years ago by my senior people, they put in place that not only could Defence use it as a training ground; they also gave traditional owners the opportunity to come back on country and protect their sacred sites,” Ms Jones said.
Used by Australian and partner militaries for key training, Bradshaw plays an important role in the future for Defence in the region.
Deputy Director of SA/NT Training Area Management, Lieutenant Colonel Adam Boyd, said the Bradshaw field training area was one of four training areas in Australia that allowed the ADF to do the larger scale joint and combined training exercises.
“It has space and capacity to do what the Australian Defence Force needs to do at the highest level,” Lieutenant Colonel Boyd said.
The recent culture camp provided an opportunity for ADF and US personnel to learn traditional skills from the world’s oldest continuous civilisation.
As well as the relationship being managed on Bradshaw, opportunities have arisen for local traditional owners to establish successful business ventures, such as the Bradshaw and Timber Creek Contracting and Resource Company.
Expanding their operations to road management, refuse removal and a host of other tasks, the company employs local Timber Creek residents, providing much needed opportunities.
“We work together and we work together to protect the land as well. And there is a mechanism in place where we rest areas so there is new growth, and we move around like the exercises move around because we work together,” Ms Jones said.