Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan people have celebrated the inauguration of Mawonga Station as an Indigenous Protected Area.
Winangakirri was given Mawonga Station back in 2015 for the traditional owners of the land, and have since been working with IPA staff to manage the country and and bring it in line with international conservation standards to be declared an IPA.
The corporation held a declaration ceremony at the Hillston services club on June 12 to herald in the new classification and the return of the land to the Ngiyampaa people.
Over 100 Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan people turned out to the ceremony.
The Ngiyampaa population has been actively managing the land since 2011, when the Winangakirri Aboriginal Corporation bought the land through the National Reserve System program and money from the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation.
The land includes several culturally significant sites, small caves and rock shelters. It also harbours significant flora and fauna, such as one of the Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan totem animals, the Yungkay (Malleefowl).
The Grey-crowned Babbler and Hooded Robin can also be found on the site - both are threatened species.
The land was formally declared an IPA in late 2019, however the ceremony had to be postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Mawonga IPA chairperson Madison Penrith said that she was looking forward to the future of the land and how it would benefit Aboriginal people.
"It is the culmination of many years of dedication and commitment by many members of our organisation to get us to this point, they have certainly paved the way for our younger generations to continue on," she said.
"Being declared an IPA not only delivers environmental benefits and assists our communities to protect the cultural values of our country for future generations, but results in significant health, education, economic and social benefits. IPAs create jobs for Aboriginal people - working and looking after country."
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