Located around 250 km west of Griffith on Nari Nari country (South-West NSW), Gayini is the largest remaining wetlands in the Murrumbidgee Valley (part of the Murray-Darling Basin system). The 88000ha property is part of the Lowbidgee floodplain and is one of the most magnificent wetlands in Australia.
The wetlands provide feeding and breeding habitat for numerous freshwater birds and animals, including the threatened Southern Bell Frog (one of Australia’s largest frogs), the endangered Australasian Bittern and Australian Painted-snipe, and the critically endangered Plains-wanderer.
The property home to a wealth of Indigenous cultural heritage – from sacred canoe scar trees to ancient mounds and camp sites. It is a rich cultural landscape that has supported the Nari Nari people for more than 50,000 years.
After more than 150 years out of Nari Nari ownership, Gayini was handed back to the Nari Nari people in 2019. The Nari Nari Tribal Council now manage Gayini using both traditional and modern techniques to protect wildlife as well as graze and grow crops for income.
“The Nari Nari people have been using traditional knowledge to sustain our country for thousands of years. Now, we can continue to protect the environment, preserve the Aboriginal heritage of the land and enable the intergenerational transfer of knowledge of caring for country.”Nari Nari Tribal Council Chairman Ian Woods
The Nari Nari have repaired and maintained roads and infastructure protected culture and heritage sites, and laid pipes to deliver water to livestock. Cats, foxes, deer and pigs have been removed from the property and waterways have been returned to a natural flooding regime.
These management efforts have helped to provide a bright future for Gayini – the Nari Nari plan carbon farming, education and ecotourism projects for the future – thanks in part to the plant, animal, and cultural heritage of these stunning wetlands.
Protecting the Plains Wanderer
This small, quail-like bird does not fly well, preferring to walk widely across its territory, making it easy prey for ferals on the prowl. Ferals and dwindling habitats have reduced numbers in the wild to an estimated 250-1000.
In 2019, the Plains Wanderer was first sighted in Gayini – a bird so unique and precious that it has its own family – Pedionomidae. The sighting added yet another jewel to the crown of this magnificent wetland and a reminder that without protection, the unique biodiversity of places like Gayini can so easily disappear.
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