Olkola’s Journey Home and management arrangements
After years of advocating and negotiating with government, Olkola Aboriginal Corporation now holds and manages 869,822 hectares of its Traditional Lands, making it one of the largest landholders in the Cape York Peninsula. More information on the history of the land dealings and establishment of the Corporation is found here.
The following Olkola properties are managed jointly with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services under special management arrangements, and allow some form of public access:
The Olkola National Park (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal land)
The Alwal National Park (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal land)
The Olkola (Kurrumbila) Regional Park
The OIkola Aboriginal Corporation also independently manages private Aboriginal Freehold land, including the Olkola Nature Refuge, as well as the pastoral station, Glen Garland.
The Olkola Aboriginal Corporation undertakes a range of different projects for country, culture and people. Below are a few ongoing projects that we are currently managing:
Olkola Ajin Savannah Burning Project
By registering the Olkola Ajin Savannah Burning Project in late 2014, the Corporation has been able to develop a project that can produce revenue moving forward. This occurs by implementing an early burning fire regime that reduces late season wildfires and therefore the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. If we are successful in ‘abating’ greenhouse gases through this method, this project earns the Corporation ‘carbon credits’ under the Federal Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative, which is determined each year by how successful we have been in preventing greenhouse gases being released by late season fires.
Ultimately, the project combines traditional burning methods of ‘patchwork’ early season burns* to prevent later hotter fires in the dry season. The project is through a partnership with Natural Carbon and has the potential to reduce up to 50,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year across an area of about 8,000 square kilometres. Our property caretakers and our Rangers are key to having this project run successfully by undertaking early season burns, creating fire breaks and being available to fight wildfires where necessary.
Photo by Julien Gastaldi
Joint Management of National Parks
Joint Management of National Parks
Under unique tenure arrangements, Olkola holds the underlying title to these areas but manages them jointly with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services (QPWS) in accordance with their Indigenous Management Agreements and the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Qld). Decisions on how the park is to be managed are made jointly with Olkola and QPWS, management tasks are also jointly carried out.
Day to day management of the Parks includes Olkola Land Managers working in partnership with QPWS rangers to work on a range of land management activities including:
Pest and weed management
Cattle removal and fencing
Visitor management (However, as these parks only came into existence in 2015, they do not currently have much infrastructure, but the Corporation is working with QPWS to develop camping and day use areas that will become available in the future).
Alwal (Golden Shouldered Parrot) Revival Project
The Golden-shouldered Parrot or Alwal in Olkola Language is a totem for the Olkola People an endemic to the Olkola Country. It is also recognised as
endangered by both the Queensland (Nature Conservation Act 1992) and
Australian governments (EPBC Act 1999), and meets the criteria for being
classed as an endangered species under several International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List categories.
Olkola is working in Partnership with Bush Heritage Australia, undertaking intensive work to protect this vitally important bird by:
Protecting the habitat of Alwal
A monitoring program – monitoring existing birds, their breeding cycles and identifying threats
Addressing threats such as feral cat predation.
Learn more about the Alwal (Golden Shouldered Parrot)
Photo by Geoffrey Jones
Olkol Language Revival Project
The Olkola language, practised for thousands of years, is now like many Indigenous languages, left with only a few speakers and threatened with being lost forever. The Olkola Aboriginal Corporation has been working actively to record and revive the Olkola Language and successfully established the Olkola Language Revival Project in 2016 with assistance from the Pama Language Centre.
The Olkola Aboriginal Corporation is working with Pama Language Centre to work on an Olkola Language Group that will:
data collection and encourage the practice of Olkola language in the community. As well as helping revive the language through resources, dictionary, stories, digital media, language camps and recordings.
This exciting project has only just begun. We look forward to developing resources in the Olkola Language to be made available to Olkola People and the public in the near future.
Olkur Ulyari – Water
Life on Olkola Country is dictated by water – the wet season rains bring life that transforms the landscape, filling our lagoons and creeks and turning our vast western plains into an extensive floodplain. The dry season sees water become scarce, making our perennial water sites critical for survival on Country. These sites have been used by our people for thousands of years, living on Country, and they hold important stories and values to us.
The Corporation has been working to document the cultural values of water on Olkola Country since 2017. We do this by identifying our important story places connected to waterholes, creeks and lagoons, and beginning a water monitoring project to obtain baseline data on their health.
Olkola Land Managers have been working with aquatic scientist, Christina Howley Environmental Consulting on this project which was funded by the Queensland Government’s Indigenous Land and Sea Program.
We now have baseline data on 14 important sites on Olkola Country.
We look forward to continuing this work in 2021.
Photo: Quarry - Photo by Shania Ross, 2019
Photo 2: Trees and rockface - ‘Olkola Country’ Photo by Shania Ross,2019
Photo 3: Sun through the tree’s - Photo by Shania Ross, 2019