Major coast conference focuses on environment and heritage

Worimi Elder Auntie Dr Liz McEntyre with the Myall Koala and Environment Group’s Richard Streamer at the Conference in Newcastle.

THE Joint National Coast to Coast and NSW Coastal Conference was held at the Newcastle Exhibition and Convention Centre (NEX) last week, congregating over 250 delegates from a diverse range of fields on coastal management.

Worimi Elder Auntie Dr Elizabeth McEntyre spoke on behalf of the Hunter Local Land Services Board, of which she is a member, standing before beautiful scenes of Worimi Barray/Jimmys Beach, taken by Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest photographers Gail Mitchell, Glen Henry, Anita Catherall and Terri Meakins.

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Dr McEntyre spoke about the local area’s Ramsar sites, Marine Parks and the importance of personal relationships and partnerships to do good work.

“This gathering is an opportunity to use and share our known and learnt knowledge and experiences to have a much deeper connection to the lands and waters where we live, work, learn and play, and which gives us our existence and identity, and provides for all our needs,” Dr McEntyre said.

Dr McEntyre detailed the magnificent Wonnarua and Worimi lands of the Hunter area, which include the Hunter Estuary, and the Myall Lakes, both internationally-listed Ramsar Convention sites for their importance in preserving biological diversity, and as significant refuges for migratory and cryptic species.

“The Hunter Marine Park is nationally listed for its coastal and marine significance, and the Port Stephens estuary, which is permanently linked to the ocean, is nationally recognised as an important migratory shorebird site.”

Cabbage Tree and Broughton Islands, located in Worimi waters of Port Stephens, are well known as the only breeding spots for Australia’s rarest endemic bird, the Gould’s Petrel.

“Earlier this year members of the Worimi community were supported to gather on Broughton with the amazing workers from National Parks to discuss the project safeguarding Birriwal Guying, ‘the Strong Bird’,” Dr McEntyre added.

“Indeed, transformation happens when one has the ears, eyes, and hearts for this living country and its people, and I am certain that the spirit and heart of our ancestors are open to embracing what we have to offer.”

By Thomas O’KEEFE

Dr McEntyre addressed the conference with beautiful images of Worimi Barray/Jimmys Beach in the background, stressing the need for cooperation and partnerships.

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