Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi

'Doing Good Work with Families'

Benjamin Kenny works for Central Land Council as a Kaltukatjara Ranger Coordinator and is based out at Docker River. He is one of many Indigenous rangers working in the Central Australian region caring for country through conservation and land management.

He is a firm believer in keeping culture and knowledge of country strong and thinks this is achievable when listening to the elders and Traditional owners of the land. He enjoys working as a ranger and is a role model to other Indigenous Rangers.

Benjamin was nominated for the Indigenous Achievement award this year. It’s not the first time that he has been nominated for an award he was nominated in 2005 for Aboriginal Apprentice of the year and was successful in winning that award.

The CLC Program, which he works for is one of Central Australia’s most popular and successful initiatives in Aboriginal employment and is helping create real jobs with real skills and real outcomes and Benjamin is a good example of this.

Through this program he has completed certificates 2, 3 and 4 in Conservation in Land Management and has continued to progress as a ranger. He has recently been promoted as the Kaltukatjara Ranger Coordinator at Docker River.

This year Benjamin travelled to Canberra to talk at Parliament house as part of the Country Needs People campaign, to discuss the importance of getting more funding for indigenous rangers and the protection of indigenous areas.

When Benjamin is not on the job he is breaking in horses, which is a hobby of his. It is a skill he has learnt while working on stations in the past and from watching and learning from his elders. His hobby has earned him the nickname ‘horse whisperer’.

Interview with Benjamin Kenny:

* What do you think is the most important thing about your job?

I think the most important part of the job is working with TO’s Traditional Owners of the land and teaching their young people how to look after and protect the land and all living things that’s living on this country.

*Do you think your job is making a difference in the community, if so how?

The job we are doing all the rangers all over Australia are actually making a difference to their land and to the community. Once I put on my work shirt I feel proud that I’m representing our people to look after this country. There are kids saying that when they leave they want to become a ranger and I feel proud to be one of the rangers that are making a difference to the community.

* How long have you worked as a ranger and where have you worked in the past?

I have worked as a ranger for six years from 2010 to 2016. I was working at Rainbow Valley as a FEP worker (Flexible Employment Programs) along side my grandfathers for two months. Then Parks and Wild life offered me a job so I took it and was based at Telegraph station and Watarrka National Park.

I left Watarrka to go back to Hermannsburg to live there but I also wanted to work for Tjuwanpa Rangers. There was a position available as a RSO Ranger Support Officer for CLC, to work on five communities where they have ranger groups. Then there was a position available at Docker River so I put my hand up for it.

* Who/ What has inspired you to become a ranger?

Before working as a ranger I was a stockman working on cattle stations and I loved it but when I moved over to work on land management my eyes opened up and I knew that I wanted to stay and work as a ranger.

Like I say to everyone our ancestors worked and looked after this country and the way I see it they were rangers before white men came and they looked after the land and protected and that’s what I want to do.

* What do you enjoy the most about your job?

I love looking after the country and also looking after our culture because that’s the best part of the job is working with elders and learning from them.