Witjira National Park is part of the traditional country of the Lower Southern Arrernte and Wangkangurru people and is of special cultural significance to members of these groups. The ancient springs have a strong mythological significance for Aboriginal people and are featured in many tribal stories and songs, and there are many Aboriginal cultural and heritage sites within the park. A Co-management Board manages the park. It comprises members of the two groups and members of the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.
Word from the Witjira National Park Co-management Board
We have been co-operatively managing Witjira for decades, responsible for jointly managing the park since 1995 and later becoming a Co-management Board in 2007. We have strong links to this land, reflected through Altyerre/Tjukurpa and the many Dreaming stories that weave throughout the park.
One of our biggest achievements is working together. We respect each other’s expertise and strengths, as well as having respect and trust in a working relationship for the benefit of all.
We work with partners to achieve conservation and cultural objectives including controlling date palms that invade wetland habitats, reducing feral animal populations that damage our land (such as camels and donkeys), and improving visitor facilities.
Aboriginal South Australians are the first peoples of our State and have occupied, enjoyed and managed these lands and waters since the creation. For SA's First Peoples, creation ancestors laid down the laws of the Country and bestowed a range of customary rights and obligations to the many Aboriginal Nations across our state.
Aboriginal peoples' oral histories and creation stories traverse the length and breadth of Australia’s lands and waters, including South Australian Parks. These stories interconnect land and waters with complex meaning and values and hold great cultural significance. We recognise and respect Aboriginal people's ownership of their stories and that they hold rights and obligations to care for Country. It is through these rights and cultural obligations and a shared goal to protect the environment for generations to come that DEWNR is committed to meaningful collaboration and involvement with Aboriginal peoples in the management of our shared parks.