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New team join the Firesticks Alliance

August 14, 2023

We’re excited to welcome the Kaurna Fire Team to Firesticks – a small, community-based team passionate about healing and restoring Country by reintroducing Cultural Fire to the landscape.

Over the past four years, the Kaurna community has engaged Firesticks to deliver workshops on Cultural Fire. These workshops, alongside knowledge shared by Kaurna Elders, aid in reviving Cultural Fire practice.

“Attending Firesticks workshops and learning about the right fire has really resonated with me,” says Fire Practitioner Clem Newchurch. “I feel privileged to be given the opportunity to work in this space and I’m excited to continue on this learning journey.”

In 2021, Kaurna held a cultural burn on Tuthannga (Park 16) in the Adelaide Parklands. This was the first cultural burn on Kaurna Country in over 100 years. Since this burn, Kaurna has continued to engage Firesticks while networking with Government organisations to secure funding and negotiate access to land, to continue this important work.

In late 2022, the Kaurna Fire Team secured a contract from Green Adelaide Landscape Board to work on Country along one of their significant waterways. The team has spent the past 11 months working on this site and preparing it for burns, which they have undertaken over the past few months.

In early 2023, Firesticks and Kaurna (supported by the nine SA Landscape Boards, AGL and City of Adelaide Council) also hosted a statewide Aboriginal Women’s Fire Conference, bringing women from different Nations within South Australia together to share stories and knowledges within this space. This is the beginning of a formal network of women working within this space.

The team are excited to continue their journey with Firesticks over the coming years and look forward to strengthening their knowledge and connections. The Kaurna Fire Team hopes to continue to expand and find more opportunities to access land where they can continue their cultural revival, to heal and put fire back on Country.

“I look forward to bringing our Old Peoples ways and knowledges of caring for Country back into our landscape…to heal and restore Country for a healthier future for us, our children and our children’s children.”

Quahli Newchurch
Community Coordinator

Kaurna Country | Rayne Simpson and Clem Newchurch Credit: City of Holdfast Bay