Follow us on LinkedInFollow us on XFollow us on FacebookFollow us on Instagram

Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

25th anniversary of Nantawarrina - Australia’s first IPA

25th anniversary of Nantawarrina - Australia’s first IPA

Indigenous Affairs Environment Indigenous Protected Areas
Tuesday, 19 September 2023

National Indigenous Australians Agency

On 2 September 2023, the Adnyamathanha people marked a significant milestone in the remarkable history of the Nantawarrina Indigenous Protected Area (IPA), celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Nantawarrina sits within the Nipapanha community in South Australia and is 58,000 hectares of land located between the Northern Flinders and Gammon Ranges National Parks. 

Ian Johnson Snr, Chairperson of Nipapanha Community Aboriginal Corporation, reflected on this historic achievement: ‘This IPA was the first of its kind in Australia and globally. It holds a special place in our hearts, not only for our community but also for the many individuals from across Australia who have played a vital role in its journey.’

The anniversary festivities were a testament to the enduring success of Nantawarrina IPA, showcasing its substantial contributions to the community. 

The celebration drew distinguished guests from various levels of government and organisations, including representatives from the South Australian Government, the Federal Government, the Indigenous Desert Alliance, Landcare, Country Needs People, Gawler Rangers, Yappala IPA representatives, and Landscapes Board SA were also among the stakeholders who came together to support this landmark anniversary.

Before its official designation as an IPA in August 1998, Nantawarrina served as a pastoral station. Today, the dedicated Nantawarrina Rangers shoulder the responsibility of safeguarding this cherished land, undertaking tasks such as vegetation and weed management, monitoring the yellow-footed rock wallaby population, and managing feral animals.

In reflecting on the past and present, the community pays tribute to individuals like Adnyamathanha Traditional Owner Gertrude (Gertie) Johnson who attended the official designation in 1998 and acknowledges the importance of future generations. 

As Denise Wilton emphasised: ‘I want to acknowledge the past and the present. For the past, Gertie was the main person. I acknowledge the people who aren't here and acknowledge the present – our kids – without our kids, we won't have a future.’

It is important to acknowledge that the Nantawarrina IPA is a project brought to life through the unwavering dedication of the Nipapanha Community Aboriginal Corporation, with valuable support from the Australian Government.

Thomas Wilton's remarkable 25 year tenure as a ranger at Nantawarrina stands as a testament to the enduring commitment of the community, while a Ranger, just out of high school, recently joined, representing the bridge to the future.

The Nantawarrina IPA serves as a living testament to the enduring success of Indigenous Protected Areas in Australia and a testament of communities’ commitment to protect and preserve their ancestral lands for future generations. 

The IPA program is jointly managed between NIAA and DCEEW and supported by the Australian Government.