Balginjirr: A Special Place on our Home River Country

Dr. Anne Poelina (Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Master of Education, Master of Arts (Indigenous Social Policy), Doctor of Philosophy & Doctor of Health Science (Scholar)) is Managing Director of Madjulla Incorporated. She is a Nyikina Warwa Traditional Custodian from the Mardoowarra, Lower Fitzroy River in the West Kimberley region of Western Australia. Her childhood growing up in Broome, Derby and out on country has given her the love and respect for the diversity of Indigenous people, kinship and culture. She is a 2011 Peter Cullen Fellow for Water Leadership and is a signatory to the Redstone Statement that she helped draft at the 1st International Summit on Indigenous Environmental Philosophy in 2010. In 2011, she was the Inaugural Chair of the National First Peoples Water Engagement Council and later the same year she was elected onto the Broome Shire Council and became Deputy Shire President in her first term of office.  

In 2014, she was elected as Director and recently Deputy Chair of the Walalakoo Prescribed Body Corporate responsible for the integrated management of 27,000 square kilometres of Nyikina and Mangala Native Title lands and waters. In 2017, she was awarded a Laureate from the Women’s World Summit Foundation (Geneva). In 2018 she was elected Chair of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council. She is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow with Notre Dame University and a Research Fellow with Northern Australia Institute Charles Darwin University. Her current work explores the entrepreneurial ‘New Economy’ opportunities for Indigenous people along the National Heritage Listed Fitzroy River, in relation to green collar jobs in diverse, science, culture, heritage and conservation economies. Dr. Poelina champions the need to include traditional ecological knowledge, First Law and the rights of nature to the solutions for planetary health and wellbeing. See website:

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Protecting The Fitzroy River Catchment



"...We welcome the Western Australian Government’s commitment to create a new protected area in the Fitzroy River Catchment, and to create a management plan to ensure the protection of the National Heritage and other significant cultural and environmental values of the river and provide a basis for sustainable development.

The Fitzroy River is one of the largest principally unregulated rivers remaining in Australia and is recognised as a centre of cultural life and biodiversity in the Kimberley.1 The river follows a path from the roof of the central Kimberley Plateau, flowing through spectacular and ancient gorges in the King Leopold and Napier Ranges, and coursing between wide floodplains before meeting the ocean at King Sound. The river and catchment support a rich and unique biodiversity of aquatic and terrestrial life with national heritage listed natural and cultural values." 

Download the Science Statement of Support - [ PDF 440KB ]

Download the Australian's 'Finally, scientific-based evidence for Northern Australia food bowl' article - [ PDF 148 KB ]

Growing Up In Old Broome

Anne - Poelina

Download the MP3 recording

Anne grew up in Broome, in northwest Australia, one of the few places where the White Australia Policy didn't apply.

Anne’s father came to Broome from West Timor as a pearl diver, and fell in love with her mother at first sight.

Their family was a part of Broome’s unique community: a mix of Aboriginal, Chinese, Japanese and European people, cultures, and ways of cooking.

Anne was introduced to her country, from her mother’s side of the family, and given ancient stories that connect the Kimberley to central Australia

She is now the Managing Director of the Indigenous not-for-profit organisation Madjulla, based in Broome.

Duration: 48min 21sec

Broadcast: Tue 28 Aug 2018, 11:00am

Source: ABC