Interning with Bunuba Dawangarri Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) was transformational, challenging and immensely rewarding. Arriving into the swelteringly hot and dusty town of Fitzroy Crossing at 9am, I hit the ground running and headed straight to the office for my first day of work. Soon after I arrived, I realized that my first week would be a packed one as it begun with the BDAC Annual General Meeting, the gathering of all Bunuba peoples to discuss and deliberate on community issues. The following day was to be the launch of the Bunuba Healthy Country Plan, this was a celebratory event, the culmination of years of planning and cooperation by Bunuba people and a variety of stakeholders. I feel like experiencing these events was the perfect way for me to start my time in Fitzroy; I helped to set up, run administration and generally help out with both events, this allowed me to observe firsthand the challenges and dynamics of native title discussions. The fast start also meant I could not dwell on the culture shock for too long. Fitzroy was my first time in a true outback town and the demographic was far from anything I had experienced before. However, after the first few packed days I felt right at home. This week also allowed me to introduce myself to many of the people I would be working with and alongside for the duration of my internship. This included professionals from the Parks and Wildlife Department, Native Title Holders, Ranger Coordinators from the NGO Bush Heritage and the Bunuba Rangers themselves. Meeting people from such a diverse range of organizations was a great way to learn about the indigenous sector, an aspect of my internship that I value greatly.
After my busy start I was able to settle into the day-to-day of life and work in Fitzroy Crossing. My accommodation was rustic but homely, an old-backpackers converted into workers a boarding house. My housemates were on hand to have evening chats as we prepared dinner and the Fitzroy River was close by for an evening swim to freshen up. Possibly my favorite thing about the backpackers was the two resident puppies! I was lucky to be able to use my weekends to explore a little more of Western Australia. I spent my first couple of days off in Broome, exploring the beaches and the pindan coast. Being situated in a location like Fitzroy Crossing was another aspect of my internship which I relished. Although, the isolation that came with being 4 hours from any other town and without a car was at times daunting, the ability to access the remote, untouched and beautiful landscapes of the Kimberley was a huge privilege. I owe these opportunities largely to the people of Fitzroy who were constantly generous with car rides, recommendations or just time for a yarn.
With BDAC my work was mostly orientated towards completing a report on the progress of the female ranger program within the Bunuba Rangers organization. This was an important document as it was needed to ensure that the next allotment of the projects grant money was secured. Having an important role within BDAC was something I relished. At first, I was a little daunted by the responsibility but after knuckling down to work I enjoyed my task. This gave me insight into the inner workings of the organization as part of my report required a summary of the past projects and training carried out by the Bunuba female rangers. I was able to complete my report on schedule and felt satisfied handing it in. Alongside my work on the project I also helped in the office with a range of administrative tasks. This is something I think every intern should be prepared for. Though it can be slightly dull it is nonetheless essential to the workings of host organizations and offers the opportunity to observe the daily requirements of jobs within the indigenous sector.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Bunuba Dawangarri Aboriginal Corporation in Fitzroy Crossing. The highlights were the inspirational people, incredible places and unique experiences. I am so thankful that I was able to take this opportunity through Aurora. I look back on my time with fondness and pride. The professional skills I learned will undoubtedly come in handy during future work and the insight into the sector has shaped my future career interests. My internship at BDAC has been one of my most worthwhile experiences in Australia.