A recent Yarning about the Waters of Gondwana was held by Hinze Dam, featuri3ng diverse speakers sharing personal and local tales to positively re-imagine the management of water.

This yarning brought together voices of encounters with nature, of regeneration, of solutions and cultural ways of being and knowing, all toward the protection and restoration of healthy water and habitats.

The event was co-designed by Kombumerri and Ngugi Traditional Owner Roselene Best of Protect Our Waters and Sara Hicks of Gecko Environment Council and hosted by SWELL as part of the recent inaugural SWELL Waterlines event at Hinze Dam.

Roselene Best and former QPWS ranger Ebony Hall spoke to the vital ecological and cultural importance of protecting water aquifers, their direct connection with our water source and the water within all of us. Youth ambassadors Brighid Gleeson-Watt and Jaxon Lester shared about rehabilitation and education projects to nurture youth, water and wildlife in Numinbah Valley, and some of their profound experiences with the Reconciliation Action Plan process with the Numinbah Valley Environmental Education Centre.

Professor Jean-Marc Hero gave us frog calls and made the connections between threatened local frogs and the delicate balance of our aquifers and waterways, as well as the urgent need to protect Gondwana in a changing climate. Kristyn Way of Watergum shared projects underway to ensure healthy waterways and changing practices for river restoration as well as magical platypus encounters, and Revel Pointon an environmental lawyer shared the importance of changing legislation to protect water for generations.

Many people were moved by Roselene’s sharing of cultural knowledge about the 5 waters;

In culture we acknowledge five waters – salt/fresh/sky/ground and the biological sea within all lifeforms. The Elders teach us that we are Clever Water. Each of us a part of the biological sea which flows through all lifeforms on this planet. It cycles through all life. For us to survive we need to respect the connection between all forms of life and do everything in our power to protect the purity and life-giving forces of the sacred water…we are clever water, and we must protect it always.”

Roselene explains that the protection of this Clever Water is part of Caring as Country, as people are not separate from Country, we are Country, we are Clever Water.

“Water is life, and it’s our collective responsibility to safeguard its purity and flow for the survival of all humanity,” says Roselene.

“We are Clever Water and must protect and nurture the salt, fresh, sky,

ground waters always, for intergenerational equity.”

As a local TO, Roselene Best is engaged in many water management conversations, from the 5 rivers of the Gold Coast to water extraction on Minjerribah, North Stradbroke Island. Roselene is a co-founder of the Protect Our Waters group, who’s mission is to protect and preserve Earth’s life-sustaining waters for the benefit of present and future generations, guided by science and Indigenous wisdom.

In the yarning Roselene shared that embracing the principles of Caring as Country and honoring Indigenous knowledge holders is crucial for preserving our environment and ensuring the well-being of future generations.

“Indigenous knowledge holders hope to explore ways that SEQwater and other stakeholders can enhance partnerships with First Nations people and

improve water management systems together.”

It’s almost twenty years since the government reviewed the Water Plan (Gold Coast) 2006, and Gecko Environment Council and Protect Our Waters are actively encouraging community engagement to feedback local and cultural knowledge, issues, and solutions into the review process.

“Conversations about nature, culture, people and connections to local places and waterways can move people, help us get involved, learn more and actively make positive changes,” says Sara Hicks of Gecko Environment Council.