Sam Bayley

Sam Bayley


Gooniyandi Rangers – Passion with good process

The Gooniyandi Rangers are in Fitzroy Crossing, Kimberley Region, North-west Australia. They help look after one the most important river system in Northern Australia – The Fitzroy River.

It’s been a privilege to work alongside the Gooniyandi Rangers as they start a new era of indigenous land management.


Change is in the air, with the:

  • Recent joint management arrangements attained for the Fitzroy River National Park, and
  • The appointment of local Gooniyandi man Russell Chestnut (Junior) as Ranger Coordinator.

Junior and longtime serving Head Ranger Virgil Cherel are leading a team of young ‘’bright eyed and bushy tailed’’ rangers. It’s an empowering and inspiring sight, seeing rangers having fun, excited about the future and working with their community and partners to manage country. 

Conservation Management, together with the Kimberley Land Council, has been engaged to help the team reconnect with their current Healthy Country Plan 2015-2025.

Since its launch in 2015 much has changed as Coordinators and Rangers have come and gone.  The community have remained the same and they appreciated having time to talk about their country in a positive and embracing environment at our first workshop in April.

Together with elders and traditional owners we looked at what is important (the Targets), what’s not so good (Threats) and what needs to be done (Strategies).

After the excitement of a large community meeting, the rangers and I got to the nitty gritty of developing Result Chains or Road Maps (piecing the logic together).

Mapping out result chains for key strategies is such an important part of healthy country planning. It provides a stepping stone approach that allows Rangers to see how their effort contributes to what they want in the short, medium and long term (their overall goals) – this is very powerful.

Exciting plans developed through this project for the Rangers include:

  • The development of a women’s Ranger team,
  • Gooniyandi seasonal calendar interpretation to teach community about right way hunting and gathering,
  • Developing strong relationships with neighbours, and
  • Developing and implementing cultural management plans.

Keep an eye out for the Gooniyandi Rangers!  Passion with good process.

Gooniyandi Elders and Community at Healthy Country Workshop April 2021

Gooniyandi Rangers and Community discussing and reviewing HCP strategies

Creating Road maps out on country

Banner image – Gooniyandi Rangers visiting country

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