Spring 2023 Bec’s blog

These past months have been exciting times for a lot of us, especially with the Shire celebrating the completion of the sealing work to the Carnarvon-Mullewa road, what a difference that makes to driving in the region now. I’m also pleased to see the Murchison’s latest attraction has opened, I am looking forward to getting to Wooleen café for a cuppa.

Ventia also shared an SKA-Low construction milestone alongside Wajarri Holdings and the SKAO (see the update from SKAO), and we’ve seen some great art and science collaborations taking place (see updates from the Australia SKA Office, MWA and Pawsey).

Also in SKA-Low construction updates, clearing work for the SKA-Low infrastructure and antenna stations is underway with a focus on the early arrays that will go on to help the SKAO deploy the larger telescope. As part of this clearing work, we are working with the SKA-Low team and their contractors to ensure that construction activity is minimising harm to protected flora and fauna. Throughout this process I am learning more about the habitats and animals on Wajarri Country. One of the more interesting creatures we are keeping an eye out for is the Western Spiny-Tailed Skink. SKAO have been surveying the work areas to keep an eye out for this interesting and rare skink but, so far, they have remained elusive.  

Those that know me know I’m passionate about sharing local stories and capitalising on the opportunity the SKA project brings for the region. I think it’s so important that local stories and lived experiences are being shared on national and international stages. One major opportunity to showcase the region came with the SKAO Council’s visit to WA and site last week. Senior representatives from all the countries part of the SKAO spent a day on Country. Members were welcomed to Country in language, joined in with a Wajarri art activity, a language activity (discovering their honorary Wajarri name for the day) and a visit to key locations all around both the SKA-Low construction area and the rest of Inyarrimanha Ilgari Bundara, the CSIRO Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory. Read more in our special update on their visit.

A woman speaks into a microphone to a crown of people in hi vis.
Leonie Boddington presents to the SKAO Council delegates on site.
Leonie addresses the visiting delegates at Inyarrimanha Ilgari Bundara, our Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory

Also to that end I was glad to learn Wajarri representative Des Mongoo spoke at the Australian Academy of Science in Canberra, sharing information on his experience in negotiating the ILUA, an event which was facilitated by the Australian SKA Office. Fellow Wajarri representative Dwayne Mallard also spoke recently at the massive SouthxSouthWest (SXSW) event in Sydney, joining an SKAO panel that was exploring how mega science projects can support Indigenous communities, address issues like sustainability, increase education access and more. You can watch Des in Canberra in the online recording.

And with that I’ll leave you with all the updates across the newsletter this edition, looking forward to waving to you out on the new bitumen.

Until next time,

Bec