Aboriginal Learning on Country team eradicates African boxthorns at Tailem Bend

Clean-out: An Aboriginal Learning on Country team member attacks boxthorns by the river. Photo: Supplied.
Clean-out: An Aboriginal Learning on Country team member attacks boxthorns by the river. Photo: Supplied.

Aboriginal workers are leading the fight against an introduced species that threatens the native ecosystem and pastoralists alike.

Members of Murray Bridge’s Aboriginal Learning on Country team fought their way through a thicket of African boxthorns along the river at Tailem Bend recently and were able to remove them.

The weed was introduced to Australia as a hedge and wind-break in the 19th century, but is now widespread in pastures up and down the River Murray, where it keeps stock animals from reaching water and shelters foxes and rabbits.

Each plant produces thousands of berries per year, each of which contains between 20 and 70 seeds.

Its spines make it inedible to sheep and cattle.

The workers had recently completed a Certificate IV in Conservation and Land Management.

The project was a collaboration between the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority, Ngarrindjeri Ruwe Contracting and Natural Resources South Australian Murray-Darling Basin.

Aboriginal Learning on Country teams are also based at Monarto and Raukkan.