Landcare Yarning on Country

Culturally safe space and conversations

Landcare Yarning on Country

Culturally safe space and conversations

Capacity to Deliver -


The issue

Landcare and Bushcare would be more effective as an environmental and social movement if we develop more, stronger, respectful relationships with First Nations communities so that we can care for Country together.

The Landcare community across Sydney wants to build robust and honest relationships with First Nations People. These relationships need to be founded on a better appreciation of the many and unique stories of First Nations People, including past and present impacts of colonisation.

The solution

The Regional Landcare Coordinator, Madeleine Florin, and Brad Moore, Senior Land Services Officer (Aboriginal Communities), worked together to develop two Landcare Yarning on Country events. One event was held for volunteers and coordinators in northwest Sydney and one for those in southwest Sydney.

These events aimed to provide Landcare with a nuanced impression of the past and present, addressing dispossession, privilege, Caring for Country and the complexities that play out today.

Landcare participants were provided with a pre-read to prepare them for the conversations. At each event, three First Nations presenters shared their stories in a yarning circle with the Landcare community. Brad facilitated the conversations using pre-prepared questions. Prior to the events, the questions were shared with the presenters, to gain their support and so they could prepare. The Landcarers mostly listened and had the opportunity to ask questions, in the circle and over lunch (supplied by Aboriginal-owned caterers).

The impact

Sixty Landcare and Bushcare volunteers and coordinators in Greater Sydney now have greater cultural awareness.

The participants have listened first-hand to what Caring for Country means and how it relates to practicing Landcare. They understand that it is a more holistic idea, encompassing spiritual, cultural and social realms.

The participants have heard first hand what dispossession of land and culture has meant for the presenters and their families and the challenges that endure today. The idea that the privilege many contemporary Australians experience is related to this dispossession was discussed and, that the capacity to volunteer can also be considered a privilege.

The presenters shared their views on different ways that First Nations voices can be heard by Landcare and how they can inform Landcare work on Country. Ideas include building relationships and managing expectations given the competing demands on First Nations people's time to participate.

Key facts

  • Relationships, grounded in cultural and historical understanding, are key to working together.