The Olkola Aboriginal Corporation (OAC) is building a new ranger base, following significant funding from the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) as announced at the 2023 Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) Summit.
Located at Sandy Creek, Dixie Station in Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, the fit-for-purpose base will help OAC better manage its significant estate which includes 869,822 ha of OAC owned Country and 1.4 million ha as per the registered Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Body.
The ILSC is proud to support the OAC team by providing over $1 million in funding as part of its ‘Our Country Our Future’ land management program, with OAC contributing the remaining funds from the income provided by its successful carbon abatement program. The total budget for the build is approximately $1.5 million.
The ranger base will form part of a larger project, known as the Olkola Cultural Knowledge Centre (OCKC) which is set to deliver greater security and access to Country, enhance the OAC’s capabilities in monitoring the Alwal Sanctuary and grow innovative research partnerships, improving the land management of Olkola Country.
The base will include separate facilities for male and female rangers, providing further opportunities for women to join the ranger team. The new base will also reduce travel time for the rangers, increasing their efficiency and productivity in conserving Country and managing wildfire.
ILSC Group Chief Executive Officer, Joe Morrison said the ILSC is pleased to invest these funds to support OAC’s vision and self-determination.
“The ranger base will allow OAC to care for their Country in much needed upgraded facilities. Habitat protection will also result from this development, which is one of the ILSC’s fundamental priorities,” said Mr Morrison.
“Importantly, the ranger base will provide OAC the opportunity to present and showcase Olkola culture to the general public, creating longer-term tourism opportunities for the OAC team,” said Mr Morrison.
Chairman of the Olkola Aboriginal Corporation Uncle Mike Ross is excited to see the ranger base progress and in turn, enhance the both the OCKC’s and rangers’ capabilities.
“We want to use the centre for all projects recording knowledge and collecting information of the Country and our culture and use all the knowledge we can get of our landscape to manage country,” said Mr Ross.
“Putting together scientific information and cultural knowledge. We can do a lot in a centre based on Country, because you’re not talking about your Country – you’re on Country,” said Mr Ross.
The new base will provide employment for six Indigenous people during its construction, leading to upskilling of rangers in construction skills while using local materials including timber and rammed earth.