Young fellas to set out on north journey

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As part of training for their part in tourism development, members of the Dambimangari ranger group will embark on a gruelling 17-day walk through the north west of the Kimberley later this month.

Members of the Worrora tribe, the Dambimangari rangers are based in Derby and are employed full time by the Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation.

During the past 18 months they have been involved in a rigorous training program which has taken in fire control, weed management, and the achievement of their Restricted Coxswain certificates.

Ranger project co-ordinator Ian Obern, who will be leading the rangers on the walk, said it would take the rangers to another level in their training.

Mr Obern said people were transformed when they went out of town and onto country.

Last week the rangers flew to Perth to be fully kitted out with new packs and walking gear ahead of their hike.

It was the first trip to the State’s capital city for some of the rangers, who also attended the football, with tickets supplied

by the David Wirrpanda Foundation.

Rangers also met their mentors for the walk, with some having walked the Kimberley wilderness for 14 years, who will accompany the rangers.

The walk will be in two halves.

An exchange of walkers and medical staff, flown in on day eight, will take place as trekkers reach a significant artwork site.

Anthropologist Dr Kim Doohan will fly in for the day with elders Donny Woolagoodja and Janet Oobagooma, and will study the art as interpreted by the traditional owners.

“This is a project that will consolidate the integration of cultural mapping and traditional knowledge as a resource for future generations,” she said.

The walkers will first be flown, by fixed wing and helicopter, to outstation Pantijan, on the Sale River, 400km northeast of Derby.

They will then be flown in a helicopter to a gorge site at the Glenelg River, before walking along creek systems and finishing at King’s Cascade on the Prince Regent River.

Mr Woolagoodja said the walk would be valuable for rangers.

“This is good – they are strong, fit, young fellas and they will learn how their ancestors walked the land for themselves,” he said.

Dambimangari said it was developing their ranger group in preparation for future tourism ventures in the Kimberley.

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