“The cultural burning workshops at Birkenburn farm with Den Barber of Yarribin Cultural Connections and the fire practitioners from Koori Country Firesticks are a truly amazing experience. I enjoyed the first one so much I immediately signed up to do the second workshop! Den is so experienced and knowledgeable about cultural burning and his passionate drive to care for country is infectious. The Koori Country Firesticks practitioners who lead the workshop participants through the burns make everyone feel safe and included. Marty and the team from Birkenburn farm have created an incredible space for learning both physically (the facilities and catering are fantastic!) and mentally/emotionally. The workshops provide a unique experience which allows participants to create a new and positive relationship with fire. It has been an absolute honour to learn from all of the people involved and I cannot recommend the workshops highly enough. I also recommend participants camp out for the workshop as it greatly adds to what is an immersive and incredible experience.” – Ro Alden Hull
I just wanted to write and say thanks for the fantastic weekend recently.
Firstly thanks to you both, and to your family Marty and to Den from Yarrabin Cultural Connections. I realise it is probably a cliche but I found the cultural burning workshop very restorative and also incredibly promising. It felt to me like reconciliation/decolonisation, and I don't say that lightly, although realise that as a settler-Australian perhaps that's a too-easy perspective. It was challenging, with some hard truths and awkward moments, but on the whole really felt to me like a space where settler people were listening and learning from Indigenous leaders and from/with Country, even if there's still a long way to go. Especially after the horrific summer we had, to be doing something positive in the bush that was both ecologically and culturally restorative, was deeply cathartic and exciting. I feel privileged to have been able to participate. Also, while I work in universities, it felt like the first time in a long time I had genuinely learned something. So, thank you.
Dr Blanche Verlie
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Thanks so much for your hospitality, sharing your home and the awesome food catered over the weekend. As I fed back in the circle at the end day 2, the workshop absolutely exceeded my expectations and like many others, I didn't want it to end! I came to learn and connect and that's what I got in spades. The workshop was an unforgettable experience, an honour and a privilege to have sacred fire knowledge shared by Den. Being back home and at work Monday, I can see retrospectively that my world view has shifted - about fire, how it works in different landscapes and how people can play a role in caring for country. The experience was of being immersed in a whole other world and sharing that interactive learning with the facilitators and other participants. I see now that cultural burning is an extremely important part of this nation's future and our lives at a grassroots community level. I've been sharing the weekend with work colleagues and quite a few of them were interested and inspired, asking how I got involved - so I'm sharing it already! Indigenous culture is front of mind at work today, being NAIDOC week and a workplace program of events launching today.