Life On The Job


Indigenous Famous or Historic People

HYDROGEOLOGIST: Bradley Moggridge , [14 January 1972 - ] BSc ACU; MSc UTS; PhD candidate UC

Brad Moggridge

Introduction

Bradley Moggridge is a proud Murri from the Kamilaroi Nation (North-West NSW) - he was born in Sydney.  


He was employed by NSW Office of Water as the Program Manager Aboriginal Water Initiative. Previously he was with CSIRO for the 3.5 years as the Indigenous Water Research Specialist. Brad has qualifications in Environmental Science (BSc) from ACU and hydrogeology (MSc) from UTS.

Brad grew up in and around Sydney but moved to the ACT in 2010. He has an ambition of leading research dealing with promoting Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (culturally appropriately) and finding commonalities between Traditional Science and Western Science, as he can appreciate both.

Prior to NSW Office of Water and CSIRO, Brad worked with a private consultancy as a senior environmental scientist, and also has significant experience in environmental protection and regulation and cultural heritage operational policy with NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and the former NSW EPA. Brad has also spent 4 years working in local government as an environment officer.

Brad was appointed as a Councillor to the First Peoples' Water Engagement Council administered by the National Water Commission in 2010, which provides advice to the NWC on national Indigenous water issues. He is also a Australian RiverPrize judge and member of the Joint Steering Committee reviewing the National Water Quality Management Strategy Documents 4 and 7 (ANZECC Guidelines) as the Australian Indigenous representative.

Brad’s claim to fame is that he can be Google’d (because of his Master thesis), has presented at the Australian Academy of Science and has played golf for Australia.

Water
(Source: http://www.wetrocks.com.au/media/files/resources/national/18-Section-5_Aboriginal-People-and-Groundwater.pdf)


Education

Brad went to Metella Road Public School for his primary education and to Parramatta Marist Brothers at Westmead for his secondary education. He was dux of Geology.

Brad has qualifications in Environmental Science (BSc) from ACU and hydrogeology (MSc) from UTS. and is currently studying for his PhD at the University of Canberra.  

Because I am lucky to have a tertiary education and currently have an influential job [when he was Coordinator of Aboriginal Heritage at the NSW Department of Environment and Conservation] I owe it to my ancestors and elders to try and help protect the environment and culture in ways best for my people,” said Brad.

Experience and Opportunities

Brad believes he was the only Aboriginal NSW public servant who is addressing environmental protection issues affecting Aboriginal communities. In his role, [NSW DPI Water as the Team Leader Aboriginal Water Initiative] he dealt with departmental colleagues and the Aboriginal community, negotiating better ways to regulate and protect Aboriginal cultural heritage under the National Parks and Wildlife Act.

His career has also included investigating urban salinity in western Sydney, water quality monitoring in the Hawkesbury-Nepean river system and researching Indigenous knowledge of water sources.

After graduating from the Australian Catholic University, Brad worked as an environmental health officer with Blacktown Council, then joined Camden Council in a similar role for five years. He found urban salinity to be a growing environmental problem, but one which is largely ignored.

Western Sydney was an inland sea millions of years ago, so the rocks in the area are highly laden with salt, he explained. “The clearing of trees and other vegetation allows salty ground water to rise to the surface and as it evaporates it leaves the salt behind. Lawn hosing and runoff also cause the water table to rise, and the resulting salt can move up into brickwork with rising damp. The water evaporates and the salt crystallises and potentially breaks down brickwork.”

His interest in groundwater grew, and Brad completed a Master of Science (Hydrogeology and Groundwater Management) degree with UTS in 2005 through the National Centre for Groundwater Management, researching Aboriginal people and groundwater.

His thesis collated and reviewed available research, providing an insight into the cultural relationships and dependence on groundwater.

Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth. Aboriginal people had a high regard for water sites. It is amazing that Aboriginal people survived for thousands of years in places like the Western Desert, where there is no surface water,” he said.

While many local and regional studies had been conducted on how Aboriginal people accessed groundwater, Brad’s was the first to collate and review them all.

In the Western Desert, there were reports of Aboriginal people following dingos to find soakages, and in the Nullarbor regions Aboriginal people were noted to have followed a line of ants into a cave to find subterranean water. Aboriginal people had a precise system of finding water, and when they found it, they managed it carefully. Because they were nomadic, they had to have a system of finding it again, so they used oral history, dreaming stories, art and ceremonies around the sites.

During his research, Brad was amazed to recognise a sign of his own Indigenous heritage.

I spoke to one of my Kamilaroi elders who was explaining three sacred waterholes that my ancestors had maintained and accessed for thousands of years.” Brad then described a painting he had created some years earlier, inspired by a dream. “He was certain I had painted these waterholes he had just described.

In Aboriginal culture, the rainbow serpent, responsible for many features in the landscape, especially water, moves from the underground to the surface, creating springs, rivers, mountains and waterholes, and is believed to rest at the bottom of some natural springs.

Elders would teach the next generation that if you distracted the serpent, or were doing things you weren’t supposed to be doing, you would wake up the rainbow serpent and it would come looking for you. This was a way to protect the water quality.”

With an Aboriginal history of up to 60,000 years, and a non-Aboriginal history of only 200 years, one wonders  whether the rainbow serpent is starting to stir.

He recently resigned from NSW DPI Water as the Team Leader Aboriginal Water Initiative which was the only dedicated Aboriginal water unit in Australia. Previously was with CSIRO Land and Water as the only Indigenous Water Research Specialist.

Brad won the 2013 Mens Australian Indigenous golf champion at Federal Golf Club. He has presented at the Australian Academy of Science, also the International Association of Hydrogeologists 40th World Congress 2013, was invited to attend the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists MasterClass 2013.

Brad was a member of Department of the Environments - Indigenous Water Advisory Committee - now disbanded and former member of the NWC's - First Peoples’ Water Engagement Council, a Member of AIATSIS and also the JSC for the review of the National Water Quality Management Strategy (NWQMS). He is also a judge for the Australian RiverPrize and the River Management Young Achievers Award.

He has significant networks in the water and environmental area, Government and ongoing relationships with the broader Aboriginal community.

Brad has an ambition of leading in his area of expertise and also promoting Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge and finding commonalities between Traditional Science and Western Science so this can influence policy and the way we manage the Australian landscape.

Brad has now begun a PhD at the University of Canberra and is also part time Indigenous Liaison Officer for Threatened Species Recovery Hub as a part of NESP.


2019

Brad has been involved in facilitating resources for Indigenous Knowledge as part of the Australian Curricular. Brad has facilitated "the water content (years 5 and 10) along with some other deadly water experts writing the content, which has been awesome." (Personal correspondence).


To learn more about Brad, look at the videos below where he tells about his Education Pathway.

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