The Akityarre Rangers began in 2007. Lack of access to land has hampered the development of this group, based as it is at Atitjere (Harts Range) surrounded by pastoral leases. Nevertheless, through their persistence and support from the community and funding agencies, these rangers have grown into a cohesive and active group.
Aboriginal ownership of Huckitta Station following the purchase of the pastoral lease in 2010 greatly increased the operational scope and thus skills and experience of the group.
Funding under the Australian Government’s Healthy Country, Healthy People program helped us during the early days. Its Pastoral Partnerships project aimed to develop opportunities for Aboriginal communities with minimal land holdings through activity on pastoral leases with which they are traditionally and/or historically affiliated. Natural Heritage Trust funding through Territory Natural Resource Management for capacity building enabled a pilot ranger group at Atitjere. The group implemented a number of land management projects with pastoralists and the NT Parks and Wildlife Commission.
For years the Akityarre Rangers operated sporadically under the guidance of our Alice Springs–based land management staff until funding under the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation’s Real Jobs program allowed us to employ both a coordinator and the rangers.