The Governor visited Yaraguia Farm in the Shire of Beverley located 122 km East of Perth. The Yaraguia Property is a great example of traditional custodians and ‘European farmers’ coming together to share learning on regenerative farming practices.
After setting off for an early morning start, the Governor arrive in Beverley to a blanket of white fog which is quite common for this time of year.
Welcomed on arrival by Mr Oral McGuire and Mr Alan Beattie – Chair and CEO of the Noongar Land Enterprise (NLE) Group and Mr Steve Gollan – Shire of Beverley CEO, the Governor was treated to a breakfast of Kangaroo meat cooked with crushed wattle seeds, home made damper and yogurt, the Governor was gifted a jar of Ngooka Bush Honey harvested from the hives on Yaraguia Farm.
After breakfast, Mr McGuire conducted a Smoking Ceremony for the Governor to cleanses the spirit, body and soul whilst on Noongar Country. The smoking ceremony is a traditional Noongar ritual used to not only cleanse and purify a specific area and to ward off warra wirrin – bad spirits and to bring in the blessings of the kwop wirrin – good spirits.
The name ‘Yaraguia’ is derived from the combining of two Noongar family groups – the McGuire’s and the Yarran’s. The Yaraguia Property (Avondale Park) is 832 ha. (8.32 square kilometres) and was acquired by the McGuire family in 2008 under the environmental stream of the Land Acquisition Program of Indigenous Land Corporation.
Next stop was a short off-road drive around a portion of the 832 ha property to see how NLE is regenerating the land and to visit some of the sacred sites found during this process.
Mr McGuire showed the Governor the progress being made, sacred sites previously undiscovered and carvings made by Noongar ancestors.
NLE’s vision is to be renowned for healing and growth through land based enterprise centred within the overlap between culture and commerce.
Yaraguia key focus:
- Regenerative farming practices are widely accepted as being integral to the future of Western Australian agriculture and biodiversity;
- Yaraguia, in partnership with Greening Australia and the Avon Catchment Council, is focused on ‘healing the country’ by developing a fully structured re-vegetation and conservation program as a process of regenerating the property back to its more natural state and biodiversity;
- Combines contemporary and culturally appropriate processes to fight salinity and soil erosion and to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse effects;
- Incorporates European traditional farming practices such as crop growing and grazing sheep, as part of its lease-back agreements, and farm forestry (native Sandalwood) while developing ‘non-traditional’ farming options such as native rehabilitation and re-vegetation; with the aims of producing bush foods, medicine and carbon sequestration for securing environmentally, culturally and economically sustainable land management practices.
- NLE, on behalf of Food Innovation Australia Limited, is currently exploring and developing ways for Aboriginal people to gain greater participation in the bush foods industry (currently less than 1%).
The Governor will be heading back to the Shire of Beverley in the coming weeks to conclude his visit.