The surging 9 meter tides, the largely unchanged islands, the coastlines and savannah forests of Bardi Jawi country capture anyone fortunate enough to have visited, camped, or travelled to Bardi Jawi country.
Leave No Trace Australia has worked in partnership with Irene and Wossy Davey, Bardi Jawi elders and traditional custodians of Bardi Jawi country, including the islands and sea country, at Dampier Peninsula north of Broome, to produce the Bardi Jawi Booroo visitors guide – the first time the world wide Leave No Trace program has produced a visitor guide in an Indigenous language.
Irene was born at Hunters Creek a few kilometers east of the award winning Bardi Jawi Kooljaman Resort (and a kilometer or so west of where William Dampier repaired his ship and met the locals in ….) and grew up along the remote coastline and islands that now make up the Bardi Jawi Indigenous Protected Area. With her son Wossy (Russel) Davey, a Bardi Jawi elder, artist and leader, Irene have been guiding and instructing international students and local visitors in Leave No Trace minimal impact skills and ethics for over 16 years.
The Bardi Jawi Booroo visitors guide is a response to the large and growing numbers of people visiting Bardi Jawi country as word of mouth and tourism marketing spread the word about the unique and outstanding natural values and and cultural experiences of the area.
The visitor guide builds on the work undertaken by Leave No Trace Australia to address issues related to cultural values that was funded by the Department of Environment and Conservation. Three consistent themes were identified that are easy to remember for global and local travellers and are key to minimising impacts on cultural values when travelling: Acknowledge traditional owners as custodians, Respect cultural values, and Responsibility for looking after country and culture is alive and ongoing.
The Bardi Jawi Booroo visitors guide was launched recently at declaration of the Bardi Jawi Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) and the Kimberley Land Council’s Ranger Forum, and was shared by Irene at the World Indigenous Network in Darwin and the National Native Title Conference in Alice Springs. Jim Sharp, the Acting Director General of the now Department of Parks and Wildlife launched the guide at Leave No Trace Australia’s offices in Swanbourne. He praised Irene’s work and leadership for community, country, and culture including language over several decades, and noted that the guide embodied the spirit of the recent changes to state legislation enabling shared management and rights to continue cultural practices in National Parks and protected areas. Marine Produce Australia, who grow Cone Bay Barumundi in the region, and Tourism WA supported the publication of the guide as part of the determination to see the area managed in a sustainable way that enables cultural values to be maintained and for future visitors to experience the area as it is today.