As we race toward the end of the extraordinary year 2020, the Firesticks Team would like to thank you all for the incredible goodwill and support that has been given to the Firesticks Alliance.

There is no doubt that the 2019 – 2020 wildfires and the Covid 19 pandemic have impacted us all deeply. We are optimistic that during these troubling times all Australians have reflected on how fortunate we are to be part of our Country. There is a strong message coming from communities for us to be united in taking responsibility for caring for this land.

Over the last year the Firesticks Alliance has experienced sudden growth. There is a constant outpouring of hope for us to support Cultural burns and deliver Indigenous Cultural Burning workshops. At times this call for help has been overwhelming.

Despite the challenges we have many successes to share with you.

We have delivered mentoring and training programs in Tasmania, Victoria, NSW and Queensland continuing to work with Indigenous communities in the National Indigenous Fire Network and the wider Australian communities. One of the many highlights of these programs was the opportunity for the two Elders Dr. Musgrave and Dr. Georges grandsons to travel from Cape York Peninsula to work with communities in Tasmania and Victoria.

Mentoring and sharing knowledge Awu Alaya (Cape York Peninsula) and Pakana (Tasmania) mob on Pakana Country at Putalina. January 2020

We worked as a small team to manage communications, media and enquiries during the recent wildfires. We received tremendous support and donations from the broader Australian community during this time. Our Chuffed Fundraising campaign has almost reached our target of 1 million dollars!

We participated in the Royal Commission and NSW State Inquiry into the 2019- 2020 Bushfires working with Indigenous people in our network. We have developed partnerships with Indigenous community organisations, philanthropy, corporate and research institutions to leverage the generous donations we have received. We are working in partnership with philanthropic and corporate organisations aligned with our values and partnering in communities through their leadership. 

Firesticks now has matching investment and fee for service work that is supporting:

  • Firesticks core leadership, fundraising, training and administration

  • Delivering on-ground fire programs in strategic areas supporting existing Indigenous community led initiatives

  • Developing a Cultural Fire Credit and verification program partnering with the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation with support from World Wildlife Fund – Australia

  • Employing local Indigenous community regional facilitators in South East QLD, Hunter NSW, Southern NSW and Victoria.

  • Developing models of partnerships working with Indigenous communities, State and Local Government

  • On-going partnership building, policy and advocacy work with Indigenous people, land and fire management agencies, stakeholders and the wider community

We have created new ways to get together online at our recent Firesticks Virtual Conference 2020. During the Firesticks Virtual Conference we were heartened to see all the positive work and incredible exchange of knowledge that is being shared by Indigenous communities across the Nation.


Welcome to Country Hobart, Kanaplila dance group led by Sinsa Mansell from Lutruwita,Tasmania Saturday 5 December 2020

The Board has been working hard on its Governance processes and is undertaking a review in the new year. The current Board was recently re-appointed at the AGM in November and were pleased to inform members of the many challenges and achievements outlined.

The leadership team and contractors have been working tirelessly on the business of the organisation to align with our values of Indigenous collaborative decision making. We have developed a shared leadership model that reflects this.

Recently, Victor Steffensen received news that he has been shortlisted for two Literary  awards Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non Fiction & the Independent Book Awards. We are grateful that Victor took the time to write ‘Fire Country’ to share his story and knowledge about Cultural Fire. This book is a wonderful way for people to learn about the importance of Indigenous knowledge in land management and the importance of cool burning to heal Country.

We are proud to be part of this growing movement that not only supports Indigenous communities in the leadership of their Cultural Fire practice on Country but also educates the broader population’s interest in Indigenous Cultural Fire practices Nationally and Internationally.

We would like to thank everyone who has supported us this year, wish you all a safe and restful holiday season and we look forward to the New Year with a busy year ahead. Cultural Fire is being activated across Australia and more support is needed to continue to increase its delivery on Country and help mitigate the impacts from future wildfire events.

With respect,

The Firesticks Team





The fire was so gentle it left this paper daisy