Updated: Jun 2
The Noongar Land Enterprise (NLE) Group has opened its new native tree nursery near Northam on Ballardong Noongar Country. (See volunteering information below.)
The nursery is called 'Boola Boornap' (The Place of Many Trees), and was purchased by NLE with capital investment and support from Danjoo Koorliny key partner Commonland, as well as the COmON Foundation.
The nursery already has pre-purchase orders for one million seedlings from around 50 different species, with production projected to increase to three million seedlings per year.
The nursery was opened by the Governor of Western Australia and Danjoo Koorliny Ambassador the Honourable Kim Beazley AC, together with local Elder Aunty Deb Moody, and NLE Elder Aunty Iris Maud Bonshaw OAM in front of an audience of around 100 people.
"We are so lucky to cohabit this continent with the oldest society on Earth - the oldest civilisation on Earth," the Governor said.
"So thrilled am I that you are leading the regenerative agriculture industry, being the first Aboriginal grower group in Australia," he said. "The product of this nursery we are standing in today offers us a chance to rejuvenate the land - they provide opportunities for the broader agricultural community to learn from ancient practices to produce more sustainable land use. And it's great to know that this nursery and the people who are committed to its success will help nurse the land back to health utilising native trees and plants of Western Australia as instruments of that healing."
"I want to commend the NLE not only for its commitment to regenerative agriculture but also for your work in creating career opportunities for Aboriginal people in the Indigenous food sector," the Governor said.
The opening was MC'd by NLE board member Madeline Anderson, and the welcome performed by Aunty Deb Moody.
NLE Chairperson and Danjoo Koorliny fire, land and food project lead Oral McGuire thanked the many Elders present, and the Noongar Rangers for their work and support. He also spoke about the significance of the land upon which the nursery is located.
"Historically and traditionally the beautiful species that we will be propagating and growing here were the endemic species that absolutely dominated these hills, and so of course with clearing and the historical stuff that has gone on, many of our sacred trees and sacred paces have been lost," Oral said.
"So the replenishment of trees into the spirit of the land is such an important part of the restoration and the ecological health of boodja (country)...we must do it with trees. So every tree that we grow is absolutely handled with the love and care of a baby, if you like, as we progress through the years, more and more, and the growing Noongar workforce."
NLE CEO Alan Beattie also spoke, as did COmMON Foundation CEO John Louden who shared a pre-recorded message. Commonland Landscape Development & Support Director Jim Mackintosh (who joined from Amsterdam at 3am) also contributing a pre-recorded message.
"Commonland has been active in Western Australia since 2015, and I first came across the NLE a few years later when I heard Oral McGuire speak at the 2019 Danjoo Koorliny Social Impact Festival in Perth, and I have to say I was absolutely blown away by the power of Oral's words and by the mission of the NLE," Jim said.
"We soon after realised that the NLE was an organisation that we would love to partner with, to learn from, and to support in driving a better future for Noongar people and for all West Australians."
"I believe that Boola Boornap is the perfect example of the amazing opportunity that lies before investors, the state government and the federal government in Australia. Where Aboriginal controlled and owned organisations can play a leading role in regenerating our landscapes and our communities, through harnessing the power of business to do so," Jim said. "And where cultural governance stands alongside political and business models of governance, as a true equal. And where we allow ourselves to be led, guided and inspired by the 60,000 years or more of Noongar experience, expertise and insight." If you would like to volunteer at Boola Boornap, please contact NLE CEO Alan Beattie.
"Any plans for the WA Day Public Holiday on Monday 7 June?
Come spend a day in the outdoors volunteering at Noongar Land Enterprise Group (NLE) “Boola Boornap” tree farm nursery near Northam. Tasks may include:
• Popping tree seedlings from trays
• Filing up pots with seedlings
• Weeding pots
Bring your colleagues, friends and/or family (please note due to insurance requirements the minimum age is 12). If you could assist it would be greatly appreciated. Email Alan Beattie."