Publication Details

Cavanagh, V. (2018). Lessons from the Aboriginal Riverkeeper Team Project, Georges River, Sydney. In R. Smith (Ed.), Restore, Regenerate, Revegetate: A Conference on Restoring Ecological processes, Ecosystems and landscapes in a Changing World (pp. 19-20). Australia: University of New England.


The Aboriginal Riverkeeper Team (ART) project operated within Sydney's Georges River catchment between 2014-2017. The project employed an Aboriginal project manager, and a team supervisor (non-Indigenous) to lead a small, full-time team of Aboriginal trainees. The eight trainees gained qualified in Certificate II Conservation and Land Management (CLM), and four of these trainees completed Cert. III Indigenous Land Management (ILM). The project incorporated strong Aboriginal cultural components through engagement with Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs), Elders and knowledge holders. The project involved numerous partners and was funded by the Australian Government. The project was delivered by consultants Eco Logical Australia (ELA), facilitated by the Georges River Combined Councils Committee (GRCCC), and TAFE NSW was the registered training organisation that provided the formal qualifications. The project produced environmental outcomes such as bush regeneration and ecological restoration; as well as socio-cultural outcomes such as, strengthening the cultural identities of the trainees by engaging them with Aboriginal Elders and knowledge holders while they gained formal qualifications and practical skills during paid employment. Positive relationships were also built between the project's partners. This paper outlines the project and highlights some of the lessons learnt, the aim is to provide proponents of similar projects (including Indigenous specific or mainstream projects) with take-home messages that they can use in developing and delivering similar projects and initiatives in the future.