18 February, 2022

Q&A: Traditional Burning with Victor Bulmer

Matthew Stanton and Victor Bulmer sitting in the gallery with Matthew's artworks behind them

VICTOR BULMER — Mandingalbay Yidinji man

Traditional Burns

Victor Bulmer has provided an essay on Traditional Burning practices, giving content to the artworks within Matthew Stanton’s exhibition Deep North.

Objectives and outcomes for managing land through traditional burning practices.

Regerminate native species with the heat of the fire being required to germinate the seeds.

Plants that are less resilient to high heat levels make it important for us to check the humidity of the grasses to ensure that the heat rate stays at a minimum so as not to destroy the country and risk the fire getting out of control.

So, it is vital before beginning a Traditional Burns that the level of humidly is understood.

Matthew Stanton, Deep North, installation view at NorthSite Contemporary Arts. Photo: Matthew Stanton

In reference to the burn that we did in the blood woods plain (Jalja) area was to promote new native grass roots to come through.

Story of the medicine water – This is the story of one Yidinji man who had his leg bitten off by a crocodile but after sitting in these special waters at this site, his leg grew back, and he survived.

High heat rate burns can kill out the seed banks – can destroy weeds and other introduced plants.

In this area of the Blood Woods Plain there was extensive deforestation with the land being cleared for timber – therefore the burns are necessary to bring new shoots back into the area.

That area is significant for one of our key storylines – which consists of the two brothers – Guyala and Damarri – They gave us moiety – and our wet season (Gurabana) and dry season (Guraminya)

Guyala and Damarri are the creators of Country and Landscape.


Ecologist, Djunbunji Land and Sea Rangers Coordinator, Djunbunji

February 2022


View Exhibition


Shop Artworks