There is no disputing the natural beauty of our traditional country. From the ocean to the sandstone escarpments, the saltpans, to the untamed rivers there are thousands of critters and plants that call our country home.
Our home forms part of the Gulf Plains Bioregion.
The region encompasses landforms subject to coastal influences such as dunes, saline mudflats and the mangrove-dominated estuaries of the Gulf river systems. It also includes sandy plains dominated by eucalypt woodlands and a range of seasonal and permanent wetlands..
The presence, or lack thereof, of freshwater dictates the existence of animal and plant species across our country. In the past it also dictated where and when we could go places as it provided a focus to our hunting and gathering. It shaped the land, not just in the conventional sense by carving its way across and through the landscape, but also by shaping our connection to the land. Because we appreciated the need for freshwater and its significance in the landscape we have special rules concerning its use that are enforced even today. It shapes our law and our management of country.
Our climate is characterised by cool dry winters and hot wet summers with severe storms, the odd cyclone and prolonged rainfall, with most rain falling in the wet season. This sometimes results in severe prolonged flooding, which have the potential to cause widespread loss of understory species and native fauna and dramatic loss of infrastructure.
The saltpans of the lower Gulf are the largest accumulative area of saltpans in Australia and during the wet season our country forms part of the largest wetland area in Australia in excess of 2,000,000ha. The Gregory River that also flows through our country is the only perennial river in the lower Gulf of Carpentaria. Gangalidda traditional country runs from the Leichhardt River, west to Massacre Inlet. Importantly, while all Gangalidda People maintain rights and interests in all Gangalidda country, persons are generally more strongly affiliated to one or more of these estates. The vast majority of Gangalidda country is subject to our estate system, where discrete family units have control of the access and the resources of that area.
While freshwater determine where we could live along the coast, it was and continues to be, the domain of the saltwater where we hunt for most of our food. We are saltwater people and rely on the bounty of the sea for most of our sustenance. Our saltwater country teems with life and resources. The significance of our country (and that of our island neighbours to the north, the Yangkaal, Lardil and Kaiadilt Peoples) has been recognised with the declaration of the Southern Gulf of Carpentaria Marine Reserve under the North Australia Marine Plan.