ACCESS Seminar: Dunggirr, Koala, calling us mob: reflections on Gumbaynggirr-led ‘natural resource management’

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About the seminar


Yandaarra collective including Aunty Shaa Smith, Neeyan Smith, Sarah Wright, Paul Hodge and Lara Daley (Paul will be sharing these Yandaarra reflection with you)

Heed the call of Dunggirr, Koala. Dunggiidu ngiyaanya ganggaadi, “Ngalanamba ngaanya.” On Gumbaynggirr Country, on the mid-north coast of NSW, Australia, Dunggirr is calling us into action, to care for Country, ourselves and each other. Dunggirr has always called people to action, has long sought to connect, as he did and continues to do through Maagun, the Dreaming. Dunggirr uses his gut strings as a bridge for his mob to re-join their homeland and calls all to come into different, respectful relationships with place. This journey is a journey of Maagun and a journey of now. We share this paper as Yandaarra: Aunty Shaa Smith, storyholder for Gumbaynggirr Country, Aunty Shaa’s daughter, Neeyan Smith, and Sarah Wright, Paul Hodge and Lara Daley, three non-Gumbaynggirr academics. Together, but in our different ways with attention to our different positions as Gumbaynggirr and non-Gumbaynggirr settler-colonisers, we seek to walk together as Yandaarra, shifting camp, following the gut strings of Dunggirr. As Aunty Shaa is guided by Dunggirr she leads us to come together to connect with the dreaming of Dunggirr through ceremony. Aunty Shaa calls for a re-membering, a bringing-back-together of ourselves and our differential relationships with each other, with ancestors, with ceremonies of the past/present/future, and with Country. It has been done before, it is being done now. Country re-members, Dunggirr re-members and they call to us to re-member. In this paper, we share some of the processes and learnings of our collective as we try to heed Dunggirr, Koala, and encourage and support others, such as those involved in natural resource management positions through the Jaliigirr Biodiversity Alliance.


Paul Hodge is Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Geography and Environmental Studies at The University of Newcastle (UON). The Indigenous-led intercultural collaborations Paul is part of, seek to nourish, support and learn from (with/as) more-than-human, inter-generational, and multi-temporal ways of being, knowing and doing in highly colonised semi-urban contexts. This research on and with Gumbaynggirr and Darug Countries centres people and place in ways that foreground more-than-human relationality. Working alongside community members, industry practitioners and geography colleagues (including our own Natascha Klocker ), Paul is also part of multi-sited, longitudinal assessment of the impacts and possibilities of regional settlement for humanitarian migrants and destination communities. This research aims to support the wellbeing of humanitarian migrants and to contribute to healthy and resilient regional communities.