Bushwalking on Country awarded grant to empower local tour guides

Published on Thursday, 28 July 2022 at 8:44:40 AM

The Shire of Carnarvon received a grant of $35,000 from the State Government towards its Bushwalking on Country project which aims to upskill and engage community members of all abilities and demographics to deliver cultural experiences through heritage trail guided tours.

The grant assistance forms part of the Outdoor Active Recreation Participation Program administered by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, which aims to get more West Australians active outdoors so they can develop new skills and enhance their overall wellbeing.

22 recreation projects throughout the State will get a share of $427,000 in funding as part of the program, including the Shire of Carnarvon’s Bushwalking on Country project. The project will give locals the opportunity to learn new skills and receive training to become accredited tour guides.

The Shire of Carnarvon project aims to empower community members, particularly Aboriginal and disengaged youth, to participate in the program and become hiking and bushwalking leaders. The program will also equip participants with the knowledge and relevant qualifications to deliver the cultural tour.

The Shire of Carnarvon will provide trainers and staff as the key drivers to ensure the project’s success, including the procurement and engagement of all relevant training. The project will be delivered in collaboration with the Shire’s Community and Youth team, and Tourism and Economic Development team.

Through consultations with numerous organisations and potential community participants, the Shire of Carnarvon has received both verbal endorsement and formal letters of support from the Central Regional TAFE, Gwoonwardu Mia Cultural Centre, and Gascoyne Development Commission.

The goal of the program is to train up to 5 accredited hiking and walking guides to deliver cultural tours focusing on storytelling and promoting Aboriginal heritage. The project will also aim to provide pathways to employment for the local participants and create a sense of ownership as well as community pride.

Shire President Eddie Smith said the project will not only bring ongoing economic benefits but also improve community health and wellbeing.

“Carnarvon has a long and vibrant history of Aboriginal culture and this project will give us an opportunity to bring our Aboriginal stories to life through an immersive bushwalking tour,” said Cr Smith. “It will also enable our community and youth to participate in active recreation activity, learn new skills, share local history, and reinforce a proud culture,” he added.  

“It is ultimately about bringing together improved health and wellbeing, outdoor learning, personal development, connection to country and economic development within Carnarvon,” he said.   

The Bushwalking on Country project is set to commence in August 2022 over a 12 month period. Ongoing consultation will take place with the Aboriginal Elders and Yinggarda Board, as the traditional custodians of the land, throughout the project implementation. To learn more about the project and provide expression of interest in participating in the program, please contact Acting Community Services Coordinator Kristine Adcock at the Shire of Carnarvon on Adcock.K@carnarvon.wa.gov.au or phone (08) 9941 0000.

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