Old solutions to new problems
Bradley Moggridge is on a mission to save Australia’s water, by combining traditional Indigenous knowledge with modern science.
Right from the start, Bradley Moggridge was a scientist at heart. “As a little boy, it began with dinosaurs and went from there,” said the hydrogeologist and ACU graduate.
These days, Bradley’s left the dinosaurs behind to focus his attention on Australia’s water resources, after a slight detour in geology. “I always had a passion for earth science,” he said. “But through my geology studies, I found myself in the Great Sandy Desert looking for uranium in a national park and it just didn’t feel right. While I was there, it clicked that this was probably not my career. I came home and switched to environmental science at ACU.”
Bradley was in ACU’s very first environmental science cohort, and is still in touch with some of his former lecturers and classmates. A masters in hydrogeology soon followed and he has since begun a PhD.
Credible scientific research is a critical part of Bradley’s studies into Australian water systems, but as a Murri from the Kamilaroi nation in north-west NSW, blending traditional Indigenous knowledge with western science is at the heart of his work.
“I’ve always been interested in seeing if these two elements could work together to help us better manage our natural resources,” he said. “This is me doing my bit for my ancestors. They managed the landscape for thousands and thousands of years sustainably and we don’t have the same concept of water management at the moment. My drive is to change that.”
Bradley has always believed in looking to the past to secure our future.
"Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth and we have access to the oldest living culture on the planet,” he said, “and we don’t listen to it and we don’t allow that knowledge to get to the table. My journey is making sure that knowledge is heard.”
Bradley said he had faced some initial skepticism to his work, but he knows he’s on the right path. “People understand what I’m all about after they hear me talk, and I’m trying to build a body of evidence that demonstrates how Indigenous knowledge can inform water management through my PhD,” he said. “While there’s still some doubt about what I’m trying to do, I worked for the Australian Government for many years and speak their language. I am scientifically trained and I know what I’m talking about.”
Bradley was recently awarded ACU’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Award, in the 2017 Alumni Awards.
“It’s an honour to be recognised in this category,” he said. “A lot of my work is making sure Aboriginal people get a fair shot and are respected for who they are. Everything is for my people; the ones who’ve gone before me as well as the next generation.”
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