Stories of the Canning Stock Route 

Elmo, Richard, CJ, Winston, Justin, Clifton at Pangkapirni.

Elmo, Richard, CJ, Winston, Justin, Clifton at Pangkapirni.

In August, KJ hosted student Natasha Busher who is completing a Masters in cultural heritage studies at UWA. The KJ board looked at a project idea of Natasha working with the Puntura-ya Ninti team to review the information KJ has on the Canning Stock Route (CSR)wells. This information comes from many years of working with the elders who have given KJ lots of guidance about how to look after these special places.  

KJ has visited wells 15 to 40 many times and has collected stories about that country, looked at water quality, recorded the impacts of tourists on areas around the wells, checked to see if weeds are present around the wells and if the wells are in good condition.   Natasha is developing a system that will allow the ranger teams to view all of the information while working on country and visiting the wells. This will help the ranger to be able to make a plan on how best to look after the wells in their work area.  

As part of her research project, Natasha accompanied the Kunawarritji rangers on some day trips in early August.  During these trips, elders and rangers took Natasha and Watto north and south along the CSR to visit some wells and make sure the GPS readings for the wells and sites on the CSR and in the surrounding area are correct – a process called ground truthing.  

A total of thirteen sites were ground truthed during the trip. Stories and information from Kumpaya and Mitchell about the wells, other waterholes and old pujiman walking-lines were recorded to add to the project.  

Natasha’s work was presented to the Puntura-ya Ninti sub-committee of the KJ board in November. The sub-committee thought the work Natasha had done was very good and would like her to do more work with all the CSR wells. They thought it was a great way for the rangers to learn from the elders.

Peggy, Sandra, Kumpaya and Natasha, near Well 31.

Peggy, Sandra, Kumpaya and Natasha, near Well 31.