• 'River Dreaming' artwork by Richie Allen

    Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander
    knowledge and connection

    We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and recognise their continuing connection with, and knowledge about, land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.

“Wirlankarra yanama. Yurlu nyinku mirda yurndarirda”

“Go with a clear, open and accepting spirit and the country will not treat you badly”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have a spiritual and customary living relationship with water in all its forms, through creation stories, use of water as a resource, and knowledge about sharing and conserving water. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a holistic view to land, water and culture and see them as one, not in isolation of each other. At the Australian River Restoration Centre we try to develop strong and meaningful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people so that we can share our knowledge, combine our strengths, and together, care for the land and water that sustains us.

The icon shown here is adapted from ‘River Dreaming’ Artwork by Richie Allen (Ngunnawal/Kamilaroi), Traditional Aboriginal Owners Corporation

'River Dreaming' artwork by Richie Allen
'River Dreaming' artwork by Richie Allen

Within the Australian River Restoration Centre team we prioritise personal relationships with local Aboriginal people living and working in our region. It is to these people that we look to for knowledgeable advice, culturally appropriate communication, and wisdom about who we need to talk to learn about areas of sacred significance. We also support Aboriginal people and businesses whenever we can, and look for practical, economic and emotional ways we can enable Aboriginal knowledge and voices can be heard throughout our work. As the Australian River Restoration Centre continues to grow, we are committing to providing more opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices and enterprises throughout all our activities. Some of the ways we will do this include:

  • Identifying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in each of our regions and, wherever possible, facilitating their involvement, perspectives and input into projects.
  • Following and respecting local protocols – how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on their Country do business.
  • Protecting Intellectual Property, the Traditional Owners will always own their knowledge.
  • Incorporating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language, place names, knowledge and connections as key parts of every project (where appropriate).
  • Undertaking projects wherever possible that protect or restore areas of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander significance.
  • Following the principal of Free, Prior Informed Consent re under UNDRIP  Article 19
  • Ensuring we follow AIATSIS ethical research guidelines.
  • Seeking permissions and permits when working on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land.
  • Engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through existing relationships so that trust and respect are the basis of all interactions.
  • Ensuring any Australian River Restoratin Centre event/activity includes a Welcome or Acknowledgement to Country provided by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people wherever possible.
  • Inviting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as speakers in our workshops, not just providing the Welcome or Acknowledgement to Country.
  • Where possible employing Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people and businesses wherever possible (catering, accommodation, facilitation).
  • Providing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to participate in workshops and training with subsidised fees.
  • Being open to learning, updating and improving our recognition and incorporation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and perspectives across all our activities.
Richard, Adam and Siwan making a film together about the importance of swampy meadows and wetlands for cultural, spiritual and environmental values. Photo credit: Heather McGinness

Learning from Aboriginal Peoples

We are fortunate to be guided in our efforts to genuinely engage with Aboriginal people by our friends Wally Bell, Aaron Chatfield, Adam Shipp and Bradley Moggridge.  Bradley led the former New South Wales Aboriginal Water Initiative team. This team did great work across New South Wales, and it was a sad day that saw their funding cut and the initiative disbanded. We are fortunate, however, to have access to the resources this team developed, and the Our Water Our Country Guide provided here as a free downloadable document, is one we highly recommend you explore to learn more about Aboriginal people, communities and their involvement in water management decision making. This film gives a snapshot of the guide.

Our Water, Our Country

This resource is an information manual for Aboriginal people and communities about the water reform process, designed to help communities make the most of these opportunities, including access to water for social, cultural and economic purposes, and a greater say in how water is used in general. This will help our people to meet their cultural responsibilities and protect Country, and it will benefit Australians as a whole through fairer distribution of resources, a healthier natural environment and a stronger, richer culture.

Download Guide

Bradley and his colleagues continue to do great work and, most recently, in partnership with the University of Melbourne’s Indigenous Knowledge Department, they have developed resources sharing Aboriginal knowledge and insight across three themes – Fire, Astronomy and Water. The Water theme provides highly relevant, accessible information and activities we can all be using in our waterway management work.

Reconciliation Action Plan 

Here at the ARRC, we are committed to creating an inclusive and diverse workplace and wish to demonstrate our support for a more just, equitable and reconciled Australia. To demonstrate this, we have developed a Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to make our organisation a culturally aware and inclusive workplace for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. We are planning to strengthen the place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and acknowledge their unique place in our shared history, that the First Aboriginal and Torres Strait Nations people are the true owners of this land.  

RAPs “provide tangible and substantive benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, increasing economic equity and supporting First Nations self-determination.” 

Read our RAP here:

Australian River Restoration Centre Reflect RAP 2022-2023


Aboriginal businesses we work with


Richie Allen, Ngunnawal/Kamilaroi
Traditional Aboriginal Owners Corporation

We are an Aboriginal organisation, owned and controlled by the Traditional Owners of the Ngunnawal Nation. We have extensive experience in modelling workplace and education programs. We collaborate with Aboriginal organisations, and the education and corporate sector to provide training and support services, encapsulating cultural competency. We also specialise in the Reconciliation space, with expertise in Reconciliation Action Plan development, implementation and audit. We work with organisations to deliver both theory-based and practical programs. Our methods are reaping rewards within the corporate world and providing a better understanding between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.

Dreamtime Connections Logo FullColor_1024x1024_72dpi

Aaron Chatfield, Gamilaroi
Dreamtime Connections

Dreamtime Connections is an indigenous business owned and operated by Gamilaroi man Aaron Chatfield. Dreamtime Connections focuses on connecting schools and community groups to culture through its interactive and informative “connect 2 culture” workshops where participants gain an understanding of aboriginal culture through the presentations of local native bush foods and medicines, tools and artifacts, explanations of farming and hunting techniques and through “bush food garden” designs and constructions.

Wally Bell, Ngunawal
Buru Ngunawal Corporation

Buru Ngunawal Aboriginal Corporation (BNAC) was established as a Not For Profit Organisation to meet the changes in legislation at all levels of Government that requires Aboriginal people to be consulted about their Culture. It is a requirement that local Aboriginal Custodians are contacted if any proposed ground surface disturbance occurs as part of a project. BNAC isa body corporate working for the protection and conservation of our Ngunawal Culture, as well as sharing knowledge about Aboriginal culture and parctices to build a better community awareness.

Adam Shipp, Wiradjuri
Yurbay Consulting

Adam Shipp of Yurbay prides himself on his strong work ethic and proven ability to design and deliver catered programs, projects and workshops for his clients. His knowledge and passion for his culture and people drives him to deliver great services for his local community. Yurbay (You ra bi) is the Wiradjuri word for ‘seed’. Yurbay offer a range of services to connect you, your family, friends and work colleagues to local food and medicine plants from the region. Workshops and talks are available at your office, lecture hall, centre or school providing a hands on experience. We also offer guided walks on country for a more authentic experience.

Alfie Walker, Wiradjuri
Pejar Aboriginal Local Land Council
Goulburn Mulwaree Deputy Mayor
Pejar Facebook page

The Pejar Local Area Land Council (LALC) was established and incorporated in 1997 under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 to improve, protect and foster the best interests of its members and all Aboriginal persons within the boundary of the LALC. The Pejar LALC is a body Corporate. Alfie Walkeris part of the LALC as well as being Deputy Mayor of the Goulburn Mulwaree Council.

Bradley Moggridge, Kamilaroi
University of Canberra
Bradley’s LinkedIn
Cosmos Magazine Profile

Brad Moggridge is from the Kamilaroi Nation (N-W NSW) and grew up in western Sydney and now lives in Canberra. He has uni qualifications in hydrogeology from UTS and environmental science from ACU, he also has been awarded the 2017 ATSI Community Alumni award from ACU and a Fellow of the Peter Cullen Trust Science to Policy Leadership 2018 Course. Brad has an ambition of leading in his area of expertise and also promoting Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge and finding commonalities between Traditional Science and Western Science so this can influence policy and the way we manage the Australian landscape. Brad is doing a PhD at the University of Canberra and is also part time Indigenous Liaison Officer for Threatened Species Recovery Hub as a part of NESP.

Krystal Hurst, Worimi
Gillawarra Art

Krystal Hurst is a Worimi artist and owner of Gillawarra Arts, a creative arts business originating from the Mid North Coast of NSW and now based in Canberra, ACT. She is a jewellery designer, painter, cultural facilitator with a vision for women and men to feel strong, connected and empowered. With traditional techniques such as weaving, twining, burning and threading, Krystal’s inspiration comes from Country, memories, stories and community integrated in an a meaningful way.

Tyrone and Bronwyn Bell, Ngunawal
Thunderstone Aboriginal Cultural Services

Tyronne and his wife Bronwyn started Thunderstone Aboriginal Cultural services in 2013, to educate the wider community about the local history and culture of the Canberra region, and its traditional custodians the Ngunawal people. Thunderstone offers a unique and engaging Aboriginal cultural experience through guided on country tours at various locations in the Canberra region, as well as Welcomes to Country and working in with other Aboriginal businesses to deliver a variety of cultural activities such as hands on talks on artefacts & stone tools, bush foods & medicines, traditional games, traditional weaving and doll/animal making.