Two Kuku Thaypan elders are at the heart of the story of the national revival of Indigenous fire practice. Dr George and Dr Musgrave had long been determined to take care of their country as their culture required, using the right fire at the right time, as their ancestors had done for tens of thousands of years. They overcame legal and bureaucratic obstacles, and inspired a new generation to learn and understand how fire could be a medicine for the earth.
These two Cape York old fellas also inspired the now annual National Indigenous Fire Workshop – which started in 2008. When it was first held in southern Australia in 2018, a large contingent of Cape York people were there, including the grandson of Dr Musgrave, Lewis Musgrave. Lewis tells us about those two old men and the movement they inspired, and about how people “read” country to determine its health, and what medicine it needs.