Media Release

Newsroom Releases 2013 June Kuku Yalanji tracking climate change

11/06/2013
Kuku Yalanji tracking climate change
An extreme wet season event nearly took the life of Francis Walker’s brother when a flash flood struck as he was returning to their family home near Bloomfield River.

An extreme wet season event nearly took the life of Francis Walker’s brother when a flash flood struck as he was returning to their family home near Bloomfield River.

“We have lived here most of our lives and know how to swim in flooded waters, but this was sudden. It took Leslie by surprise and he is still traumatised by it,” Ms Walker said.

“We can see the changes in the weather patterns by noticing that plants flower at unusual times and the scrub hens have not been laying as many eggs as they used to since it has been drier.”

Ms Walker is the tour manager of the Walker Family Tour Company, a highly acclaimed tourism business operating on Eastern Kuku Yalanji country.

She features in a documentary produced as part of James Cook University Planning lecturer Sharon Harwood’s research into how remote communities plan for change.

The documentary, created in partnership with Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation and the clans of the Eastern Kuku Yalanji, will be screened at a free public lecture at the JCU Cairns campus on June 13.

Dr Harwood said Ms Walker was committed to finding solutions to help her family, community and business become more resilient to climate-induced environmental change.

“The documentary highlights the importance of culture and spirit in the everyday lives of modern Eastern Kuku Yalanji women and the challenges these women face in adapting to climate change and increased risk of disaster intensities,” she said.

“It shows the contributions they are making to their community in the creation of seasonal calendars, storytelling and land uses - including economic development - and how these in turn respond and adapt to climate change, including disaster risk reduction.”

The documentary was supported by Deanne Bird, a human geographer focusing on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation at Risk Frontiers (Macquarie University).

Eastern Kuku Yalanji women and climate change: The invisible force of resistance is the latest in JCU’s annual series of public lectures in science and engineering.

The lecture will be held in the Crowther Theatre at James Cook University in Smithfield on Thursday, June 13.

Refreshments will be served from 5.30pm and the lecture will begin at 6pm.

Issued June 11, 2013

Media enquiries: E. linden.woodward@jcu.edu.au T. 07 4042 1007