Arm River Track
Arm River Track

PWS staff profile: Tony Burgess, Aboriginal Ranger

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​Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service marks its 50th anniversary as a parks and wildlife service this month which provides an opportunity to celebrate our staff across the state and reflect on the division’s achievements over the years. 

Aboriginal Ranger at Great Western Tiers Field Centre Tony Burgess is one of our PWS staff working across the state. 

Tony has been working for the PWS for almost 10 years, spending his first four years as a Working on Country Aboriginal Trainee Ranger before his current role. 

ony Burgess and team doing rope training at Honeycomb Cave – Mole Creek Karst National Park

Tony Burgess and team doing rope training at Honeycomb Cave – Mole Creek Karst National Park

​“A major part of my role is the management and protection of one of the oldest living cultures,” Tony said.

“My role is really varied, one day we are at Liffey Falls cleaning toilets and doing track or infrastructure inspection and maintenance, the next day we are walking into the Walls of Jerusalem chatting with walkers and enjoying the beautiful area.

“Another major part of this role is weed management, this ranges from multi day walks across the top of the Great Western Tiers, removing rag wort or hanging off a 40 metre cliff into Honeycomb cave removing blackberries. It never gets boring.”

Tony Burgess and Chris McMonagle flying out of the Walls of Jersusalem

Tony Burgess and Chris McMonagle flying out of the Walls of Jersusalem

Tony has spent the majority of his time at the PWS at the Great Western Tiers Field Centre.  However, he has spent the last eight months as the Acting Ranger in Charge at the Mersey Field Centre at Narawntapu National Park. 

“As an Aboriginal person this was a very special opportunity for me to be the Ranger in Charge for the only Aboriginal named park and it will be something I will hold close to me for a long time to come,” Tony said. 

Tony doing track inspections on the lees paddock track, quick rest stop at Oxley Falls

Tony doing track inspections on the lees paddock track, quick rest stop at Oxley Falls

Tony said there are many highlights of his role, which he would describe as “one of the best jobs in the world.” 

“At Great Western Tiers Field Centre, we are so lucky with the areas that we manage. For example, with the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, it is hard to believe we get paid to walk through such beautiful places like this,” Tony said. 

“I love the fact that you can plan your shift out and nine times out of ten it doesn’t happen, our role is constantly changing each day. 

“I get to spend my days out on country connecting to my old fellas, and carrying on their work, looking after our beautiful home.”

Snow fall at Dixons Kingdom

Snow fall at Dixons Kingdom

Tony reflects on his favourite memories during his time at the PWS which includes a recent trip to the Southwest Coast during Aboriginal Heritage surveys. 

“The Southwest Coast is such a beautiful remote place, almost untouched. Rich with Aboriginal culture,” Tony said. 

“Another memory that will live with me forever is being able to attend a cultural burning workshop at Cape York. It was not just about burning but connecting with landscape. This was such an emotional and moving moment in my career and life.”

Westmorland Falls, not a bad spot for a lunch break

Westmorland Falls, not a bad spot for Tony's lunch break

Tony said he has been lucky enough in his career to have travelled to a lot of Tasmania but there is one location that stands out to him. 

“The Central Plateau Conservation Area (CPCA) in the TWWHA is my favourite spot. It has been left very underdeveloped, it is close to the beautiful Walls of Jerusalem National Park and Cradle Mountain National Park,” he said.

“In the CPCA, you can walk for days and camp without seeing a soul. As an Aboriginal person, to have that feeling of being alone in the wilderness and connecting with my country, it is a feeling that I cannot describe.” 

Published 5/11/2021