Kowanyama Rangers Launch New App

Mar 4, 2022

The Kowanyama Lands Office put on a barbeque recently to celebrate a step forward in technology and culture. The Rangers have been developing and testing a new mobile app that helps record their Ranger activities while they are working on country.

Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council’s New Rangers App

The launch was attended by Mayor Robbie Sands, Executive Manager Community Services Kevin Bell, KASC Scientific Project Officer John Brisbin, KASC ICT Manager Matthew Fox, Viv from the Kowanyama Culture & Research Centre and the KASC Rangers.

This innovative approach allows Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council to collect valuable information about our carbon farming, plant/animal control, surveying and cultural activities on country. The reporting features allow Rangers to set their own management goals and builds on the Ranger program’s reputation with this information made available to funders.

Executive Manager Kevin Bell said, “The app gives each ranger the power to describe their work, take pictures, and make notes in the field.”

The app was developed with using software that Council already owns, meaning costs were kept at a minimum despite the app’s impressive functionality.

Council ICT Manager Matthew Fox said, “It’s fantastic to see the Lands Office take advantage of the IT tools that have been implemented within Council. The development of the Rangers App paves the way for other teams within council to develop similar tools or apps that will help to achieve great outcomes for the Kowanyama community.”

One of the amazing features of the Rangers app is that it allows Rangers to see the language names for the places they work across the country of Kokoberra, Kokomnjen and Kunjen people. Mayor Robbie Sands said, “I really like to see the young Rangers keen to learn the traditional names for their country. They can practice their culture while getting the job done.”

After the Rangers app was officially launched, Viv Sinnamon from the Kowanyama Culture and Research Centre shared aerial photos from his experiences in Yirrk Thangakl, Kurr Kamuw (Wallaby Turkey Clan) country on the Upper South Mitchell Landing area, next to Yirrk Thangakl, Mel Thiw (Bald Owl) Clan Country in 1979. He discussed each placename that he had recorded over the years and showed the Rangers an LiDAR image that indicated traditional names in the immediate area around Kowanyama township.

All this information formed a part of the Kowanyama Land Information System that was established by early GIS/Ranger staff of the Lands Office and commissioned anthropologists in the 1980s.

The Rangers were keen to hear more stories and learn how to pronounce the language names, to which Viv offered to have more yarns with them in the future.