Young Aboriginal men are learning boating skills and helping to clean up the Goulburn River thanks to a Shepparton-based men’s group project.By John Lews
Young Aboriginal men are learning boating skills and helping to clean up the Goulburn River thanks to a Shepparton-based men’s group project.
Goulburn River Clans Men’s Group member Noel Briggs said two motor-powered tinnies had been purchased and emblazoned with the group’s logo after funding was obtained from Melbourne’s Indigenous Coordination Centre.
‘‘This means we can teach young blokes about water safety, help them get their boat licence and clean up the river a bit too,’’ Mr Briggs said.
He said the group had already made three or four trips up the river.
‘‘It’s in a pretty disgusting state,’’ Mr Briggs said.
From the boat ramp on the Shepparton side of the Goulburn River, Mr Briggs and fellow mens group members pointed out a pyramid of flood debris trapped against the concrete supports upstream of the Peter Ross-Edwards causeway bridge.
‘‘We could use that timber for artifacts and wood for our potbelly in the shed,’’ Mr Briggs’ brother Wayne said.
‘‘But we don’t have the equipment to move it,’’ he said.
Noel Briggs said the men’s group had already had discussions with Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority about cleaning up the river, and were keen to work with Parks Victoria and the Department of Primary Industries on fish tagging projects and weed control.
‘‘We want to start a program to get rid of carp and the rubbish along the river banks,’’ he said.
Fellow group member Shane Charles said the boat trips and river maintenance projects were also chances to get together and talk about men’s issues.
‘‘It’s about getting together as men and having conversations,’’ Mr Charles said.
‘‘What an easy way to do it — getting away from it all up the river. It’s another tool we can use to help the boys feel supported,’’ he said.
The group meets regularly in a large shed off Benalla Rd where art and building projects are undertaken.
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