In 1998, the small community of Nepabunna (now Nipapanha) in the northern Flinders Ranges of South Australia was part of a revolution. It was a new way of preserving Australia’s natural heritage and the culture of its first inhabitants. On 2 September 2023, the Adnyamathanha people marked a significant milestone for the Nantawarrina Indigenous Protected Area (IPA), celebrating its 25th anniversary. The Indigenous Protected Area would be similar to other Australian reserves or national parks but owned and controlled by the local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community. Under this arrangement, the Government would also provide funding for land management and cultural heritage preservation. It would provide support for infrastructure, paving the way forward for economic development and training opportunities. It would employ members of the community as IPA Rangers, train them and provide other assistance.
Nantawarrina sits within the Nipapanha community in South Australia and is 58,000 hectares of land located between the Northern Flinders and Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Parks. Before its official designation as an IPA in August 1998, Nantawarrina served as a pastoral station. Today, the dedicated Nantawarrina Rangers (including Thomas Wilton who has been a Ranger for 25 years) undertake tasks such as vegetation and weed management, monitoring the yellow-footed rock wallaby population, and managing feral animals.
The Friends group provided logistical support for the celebration. Watch the video of the event produced by David Mussared here: video – where you may spot Friends members Henry, David and Annette.