Keewong family descendants, Ngyiampaa- Ngemba clan together with other Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal extended family members represented by Winangakirri Aboriginal Corporation (WAC) have long fought for access and rights to look after our traditional ngurrampaa (country), to continue the role of our ancestors. Mawonga Station, Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) is a 22,020-hectare property in central-western New South Wales, located 95km north of Hillston. For Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan people it is a significant part of our traditional lands. In the past it was an important place for ceremony, part of a young novice’s journey through initiation, for hunting, family and clan interaction. Today it continues to be an important teaching, learning and place of connection for us. In 2011, WAC secured a partnership with Commonwealth agencies, Indigenous Land Corporation, Department of the Environment, through their National Reserve System and Indigenous Protected Area programme for its purchase on our behalf and to support us in its on-going management. Mawonga IPA was divested to WAC in September 2015. The purchase and divestment of Mawonga provides an economic and cultural base for Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan people, Winangakirri members and the Aboriginal community. It gives us the means to maintain, strengthen and promote Aboriginal culture in western New South Wales.
Our vision for Mawonga is to:
“Protect and Conserve the cultural and natural values of Mawonga through effective management, partnerships and training of future generations.”
Mawonga consists of ridge country comprising part of the Keginni, Yapabungara and Marooba Ranges, undulating slopes and level plains country that predominate on the Cobar Peneplain. Amongst these ranges are many rock art sites, camping areas and travelling paths, connecting us to and telling the stories of our ancestors. It is a cultural landscape home to many plants and animals that are important to us both spiritually and as food and medicine resources. These include Thingkaa – totems and culturally important animals many of these are threatened such as the nationally vunerable Yungkay, (Mallee Fowl) and his home the Maluman - Mallee Woodlands. The Pilaarr - Belah and Brigalow Woodlands and Nhiilyi - Nelia shrublands, from which some of our people take their cultural identity as Nhillya or Pilaarr tree people. These woodlands and shrublands are home to home to many animals especially the woodland birds, mammals and reptiles that are nationally vulnerable like the Grey-Crowned Babbler, Gilbert Whistler or endangered Red Lored Whistler, small marsupials Kultarr and Ninganui, the Yellow-bellied Sheath tail bat and the Marble-faced Delma.
Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan People and Country
Mawonga Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) is a 22,020- hectare property in central-western New South Wales, located 95km north of Hillston. For Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan people it is a significant part of our traditional lands. In the past it was an important place for ceremony, part of a young novice’s journey through initiation, for hunting, family and clan interaction. Today it continues to be an important teaching, learning and place of connection for us. Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan traditional ngurrampaa (country/camp world) of the Ngiyampaa-Ngemba language group extends north from around the Lachlan (Kaliyarr) to the Darling (Pawaan) Rivers, east to the Bogan River and west to the Darling again. In the beginning Biamie and the Spirit Beings formed ngurrampaa (country/camp world) and gave our ancestors a set of rules to live and take care of Country by. Our ancestors passed down this knowledge through language, stories, songs, dance and ceremonies on how we are one with the spiritual landscape. The Mayi (people) of this area speak Ngiyampaa-Ngemba the Wangaaypuwan (Wongaibon) way: Wangaay meaning No and puwan meaning having/plentiful/committed to. There are three main clan groups Nelia Tree, Belah Tree and Stone country people, whose areas of responsibility overlap each other. Keewong Family descendants and the broader Aboriginal community have been through a long journey to gain rights to our country to be able to hold title to land; something Aboriginal people were excluded from for much of the twentieth century, to continue to take care of Mawonga.