RECOGNISED: Gidarjil Development Corporation's Kira Mills with NAIDOC apprentice-trainee of the year Brendan Fletcher.
RECOGNISED: Gidarjil Development Corporation's Kira Mills with NAIDOC apprentice-trainee of the year Brendan Fletcher. Right Image Photography

Shining light: Senior ranger's pride in completing training

SENIOR indigenous ranger Brendan Fletcher, 41, was "shocked” to win the NAIDOC Apprentice-Trainee of the Year award.

The proud Gurang man said time management was the hardest part about completing his Certificate III in Cultivational Land Management while working full time for the Gidarjil Development Corporation's Caring for Country program.

"Because I was new to the senior ranger position I had to allocate time on school holidays, weekends, and push through my training so I could spend more time being a senior ranger,” Mr Fletcher said.

"Family was very supportive.

"They just left me alone to let me do what I needed do, and with the job experiences I've had with the mines, I have learned the safety side of things which actually prepared me...on the legal side of things and doing the OHS and everything like that.”

Mr Fletcher was among eight award winners recognised at the NAIDOC Ball held at Brothers Sports Club last Saturday, and by Monday he had flown to Perth where he was completing a three day mapping course.

The course was aimed at taking significant cultural sites and knowledge and using new technology to chart them for educational purposes.

Education and passing on cultural knowledge to the wider community was central to his ranging role.

"Drones are the big future now, and mapping, so we should be able to narrow down our culture heritage sites for in the future,” he said.

Mr Fletcher said it was important to give school students practical experience and showing them the cultural experiences of the land.

A good way to reach out to students was by using technology to connect with them.

"You can give a two-year-old an iPhone and they can work it better than you.

"I'm looking at doing, with this mapping course, a storybook where we build a storyline of the traditional areas of Bundaberg, and to put it up on Google and show the kids a bit of a story on the traditional owners of the area and what they did.”

The other award winners of the night included elders of the year Tina McLellan and Eddie Terare, and person of the year Ashley Eggmolesse.



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