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First Nations cattle station on Garawa Country springs back to life after a new bore from ILSC

Brendan Foster -

An Aboriginal-run organic cattle station on Garawa Country, which is also the base for programs for at-risk Indigenous youths, now has fresh running water thanks to a new bore.

Seven Emu Station is a remote tourist attraction on 209,200 ha of land on the Savannah Way in the Gulf of Carpentaria in the Northern Territory and is home to senior Garawa man Frank Shadforth.

Mr Shadforth's father Willie bought the station in 1953 and is believed to be one of the first known Aboriginal people to buy a pastoral lease.

The station has relied on water pumped from the nearby Robinson River after the old bore collapsed 17 years ago, which has not only created safety issues, but also meant their tourist season had to be cut short.

Now Seven Emu will have clean running water year-round after the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation poured $76,000 into the station for a new bore and solar pump.

The fresh water is a major boost for Mr Shadforth's passion to keep the Garawa culture alive and share their family's Indigenous knowledge and skills – not only with the youth campers – but with non-Indigenous people as well.

"The bore will prevent the restrictions on all our activities on the property and help to run our business more effectively," said Mr Shadforth.

The new bore also means the tourists can stay longer on Country and Seven Emu's can grow its bushfoods venture, which ships traditional medicines to restaurants in the southern states.

The station can continue to run its two successful youth training and work pathways camp programs, which provide young First Nation people with training, work experience and employment opportunities working on the cattle farm, eco-tourism business, and bush food enterprise.

Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation chief executive, Joe Morrison, said the new bore was an important addition to the Shadforth family's ability to operate enterprises on their country.

"First Nations peoples are the rightful owners of Country. Seeing the Seven Emu Station team achieve their aspirations for their land is what it's all about," said Mr Morrison.

"Everything the ILSC does is to serve First Nations peoples and this story is a clear example of our organisation's commitment to achieving this."


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