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Koala Country

Community spotlight: Nathan Brennan

20 Apr 2021
Community & partnershipsAboriginal
Using our Culture

"My name is Nathan Brennan and I identify as a proud Gumbaynggirr, Bundjalung and Gamilaraay man who was born on Awabakal Country – Newcastle.

Nathan Brennan

I am currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Coffs Harbour and District Local Aboriginal Land Council (CH&DLALC) and have held this position since June 2018. The CH&DLALC has a diverse portfolio ranging from land acquisition and management, community housing management, property maintenance, and environmental ranger team (Darrunda Wajaarr Rangers), community engagement/events management, and now we are proud to add koala conservation.

“Durrunda Wajaarr” means to ‘fix country’ and the Durrunda Wajaarr Land and Sea Ranger Team has been operating since 2006.  Durrunda Wajaarr Rangers work with a range of local, private and state government partners and have developed skills significant industry skills. They deliver many bush regeneration and land and sea management projects, benefitting the community and the natural environment.

Baya ngiyambandi wajaarr nyirrnaaway! Yidaa! Yidaa! Yidaa!
May our country always be beautiful! Always! Always! Always!

Our organisation became involved in koala conservation after connecting with the NSW Koala Strategy team at a koala conservation workshop in Bellingen. We were able to discuss our aspirations in koala conservation as Aboriginal people, and they were able to support our rangers to develop a range of koala projects including workshops, training, and the development of the ‘Gumbaynggirr – Good Koala Country Plan’ outlining our aspirations in koala conservation.

Nathan Brennan

Undertaking koala conservation has been reasonably challenging on a range of levels. It required engaging not only Gumbaynggirr people in Coffs Harbour, but also Nambucca Heads, Urunga, Bowraville and Dorrigo. We have been able to come together as Gumbaynggirr people and share dreaming stories and reconnect with cultural practice and knowledge. These connections have been the highlight of my work in the koala space.

Gumbaynggirr are proud cultural people who continue to hold and practice culture across their lands. Koala’s are of immense cultural, social, emotional and ecological value to the Gumbayngirr people. I’m so pleased to see our work bringing people together from across the Gumbaynggirr nation and allowing significant knowledge transfer and learning from the elders in our community.

I’m looking forward to continuing the work we’ve started and seeing positive outcomes for koalas and Aboriginal communities."