Arid Recovery is on the country of the Kokatha people. Kokatha country extends north of Port Augusta, bounded by Lake Torrens to the east and the Gawler Ranges to the west. We recognise the enduring relationship they have with their country and pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.
Following decades of fighting for acknowledgment of country, the Kokatha people have been granted Consent Determination for Native Title in the Gawler Ranges region and Kokatha Uwankara Native Title Claim (SC09/1). Click here to view a map of the Native Title Area.
The incorporated Kokatha Pastoral Pty Ltd currently operate three pastoral stations surrounding Arid Recovery; Roxby Downs, Andamooka and Purple Downs Stations. The station sub-leases were awarded to the Kokatha people in 2014 from BHP, as part of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement.
Arid Recovery has been involved with the Kokatha people from the early years. Some Kokatha people were involved in building the first feral-proof fences, and archaeological surveys were done in the Reserve in 2013 to determine locations of culturally significant sites, which are now protected in-situ.
We are also collaborating with Kokatha Pastoral and BHP as part of our feral control program. As our closest neighbours, having the support of both organisations is critical in ensuring that Arid Recovery remains feral-free.
This collaborative feral control program is also critical to our long-term goal of having locally-extinct species surviving outside of the fence once again. This is a great opportunity to restore cultural and ecological heritage that has been lost for close to a century. Of particular significance will be having Kokatha people and western quolls living and working on the same land once again. Quolls are a totem animal to the Kokatha people.
Arid Recovery also recognises the artistic heritage of the Kokatha people. In September 2017, an Indigenous art workshop was held at the Reserve, hosted by Minyma Talk, an Aboriginal Women’s Networking Group based in Roxby Downs. 40 local school children attended, with the resulting artwork, titled ‘Our Backyard’, now on permanent display in our Education Centre.
There are very exciting prospects for the future. In late 2018 a large Kokatha sign was erected in front of the Reserve’s entrance gate, featuring the Kalta, or sleepy lizard. It serves as a vivid reminder to all staff and visitors that we are on Kokatha country.