Making a Fitzroy River catchment model

31 May 2018

The Knowledge brokering for Indigenous land management project held a very successful workshop from 5-7 December 2017 in Fitzroy Crossing, WA. Led by Dr Ro Hill of CSIRO, this project is investigating ways to support Indigenous people to talk about and share their knowledge on the ways they manage country. A major part of this research is partnering with Traditional Owners in the Fitzroy River catchment to design and test culturally tailored knowledge brokering methods that bring together Indigenous, local and scientific information and understanding. One of the purposes of the Fitzroy Crossing workshop was to build a 3D physical model of the catchment.

To make the 3D catchment model, Hub researcher Nat Raisbeck-Brown from CSIRO used spatial tools to turn the elevation contours of the catchment into pre-cut shapes in foam sheets. Local Traditional Owner schoolchildren then pressed out the shapes, matched them to a paper map on the wall, stacked the foam contours and built up the landscape to create a 3D physical model of the catchment. The process of putting the shapes together provided a space for the children and Traditional Owners to show and share their knowledge about various parts of the catchment. Now that it’s constructed, the 3D model will be used throughout the Fitzroy catchment and beyond for many purposes including identifying areas of cultural value, showing where threatened species are found and generally providing a setting around which conversations about the catchment can occur.


Fitzroy Crossing students and Traditional Owners building the 3D catchment model. Photos reproduced with the permission of the Traditional Owners.

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