Caring for country: Indigenous leadership in disaster management

When Cyclone Yasi hit the coast of North Queensland in 2011, the Girringun Aboriginal Corporation and its active community of rangers and artists took a position of leadership in the recovery process and galvanised a devastated community.

In this episode, we explore how this particular First Nations community see their role in emergency response and look at some of the issues globally around best practice for indigenous peoples leading the way in disaster management.

Indigenous peoples all over the world have co-existed with large weather events for centuries. But colonisation, climate change and agricultural modifications have all played a part in disrupting the deep connection between land and people, changing the impact disasters have on a community.

Girringun’s Founder and Executive Officer Phil Rist shares the story of their traditional-owner led organisation; we take a tour around the renowned Girringun Arts Centre with manager Joann Russo; and we also hear from Girringun Ranger Michael George and Communications Officer Seraeah Wyles about the interconnectedness of arts, culture and country.


Phil Rist, Executive Officer, Girringun Aboriginal Corporation
Joann Russo, Arts Centre Manager, Girringun Aboriginal Corporation
Michael George, Ranger, Girringun Aboriginal Corporation
Seraeah Wyles, Communications Officer, Girringun Aboriginal Corporation

Production Credits:

The series is produced by Scotia Monkivitch and Creative Recovery Network Project Manager Jill Robson, in collaboration with Audiocraft: Executive Producer Jess O’Callaghan, Producer Selena Shannon, Sound Engineer Tiffany Dimmack

Consulting Producer for this episode: Boe Spearim

How to Listen

You can find Creative Responders on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or your favourite podcast app. You can also listen to all of our episodes right here on our website and access transcripts and resources related to each episode.

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Case study library

Would you like to hear about more arts-based programs supporting and strengthening communities? Our case study library features a range of projects that harness the power of the arts to enhance all stages of disaster planning.