Clint Hansen met up with us out at Rod O’Bree’s Yanget Station opposite the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station, aka the Spy Base, 28km east of Geraldton. The 12 team members from Central Regional TAFE and Batavia Coast Maritime Institute were there as part of their course of Certificate II in conservation and land management. Clint was standing in a small creek that runs through part of this farm. It is a reasonably undulating piece of country and in past heavy rainfall years, these creeks have run very fast, scouring out the creek banks. “We have got a small mound here,” he said. “So that restricts the flow from the main one we have in the creek bed further up. “So damming and diverting the water, forces it to spread out and go across country. We are diverting it higher up. “We are not actually damming it, but restricting the water flow so we can see how our water table will change. “If we can keep the water on country longer, then we have plants, grasses and other vegetation which are bringing country back.” Clint explained that if they don’t hold the water up, it will flow rapidly out into the ocean. Taking top soil, seeds and nutrients with it. That is what has been happening all over the cleared areas of Australia. “Not only that,” he said. “There are herbicides, pesticides and all of those things that travel in that water flow, out into the oceans.” He said it was highly significant that Noongar elders had a connection with farmers and with Government agriculture officials which allowed them to discuss Indigenous farming practices. “We have practised holistic and regenerative farming for 50,000 years — where we had as nomadic people, our supermarket and chemist store provided by Boodja, Mother Earth,” Clint said. “Now she gives us a chance for all races to combine together so we can heal our planet. Healthy universe, healthy, happy people around better food chain.” The students in this class are mostly Aboriginal from the Geraldton region. Learning how to manage country in the old way, before white settlement, and introducing these young people back into that practice. Clint said included in the learning was the management of stock in these areas that had re-vegetated from the benefit of holding back water. It had soaked into the flat areas adjacent to the creek as it meandered down the slope. Cattle and sheep needed to be managed carefully to allow grass to stay as long as possible. Part of that learning and getting back the feel of country was in managing slow burns in selected areas at certain times, as practised by Aboriginal people for centuries. Recent wildfires in the east and in WA have focused attention on these practices. Regenerative farming practices aim to improve landscape function, increase biodiversity and improve nutrient recycling. Rod and Birdie O’Bree have embraced this concept and are putting it into practice with the help of our local TAFE and interested farmers. We ran a story about them in the Midwest Times on December 18, 2019. To share your Geraldton garden with readers, phone Stan Maley on 0428 230 029.