Virgin Australia’s 737 aircraft ‘tinamirakuna’ takes to the skies for Greening Australia in reconciliation week

Representatives of the local Aboriginal community, Virgin Sustainability Ambassadors and staff. and Greening Australia staff stand in front of the tinamirakuna aircraft.

Virgin Australia, in partnership with Greening Australia, is pleased to announce it has named one of its new Boeing 737 aircraft ‘tinamirakuna,’ which is palawa kani for the Macquarie River that flows a 189 kilometre course through Tasmania’s east.

In keeping with Virgin Australia’s convention of naming aircraft after significant bodies of water, the aircraft’s name acknowledges the important environmental restoration work of Greening Australia in this region. The river forms a central part of a massive restoration program currently being undertaken by Greening Australia.

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre was consulted as part of the naming process. The Centre’s Land and Heritage Project Officer, Andry Sculthorpe, said: “The naming of the Virgin Australia aircraft with a Tasmanian Aboriginal name recognises the previous and ongoing connection that the Aboriginal people have with the land in Tasmania.

“We have been working with Greening Australia in an advisory role and this has enabled the Aboriginal word for the Macquarie River, tinamirakuna, to be introduced into the language of the project.

“We welcome Virgin Australia and Greening Australia to use this name. Embedding Aboriginal names in projects such as this is a good way for the community to take up and respect the Aboriginal language and its place in the land,” Mr Sculthorpe said.

Virgin Australia General Manager of Group Sustainability, Robert Wood, says the airline is passionate about Tasmania’s beautiful natural environment and is committed to helping to protect it.

“At Virgin Australia, we name our aircraft after significant Australian bodies of water so it is fitting that we do this to help raise awareness for the vital conservation work happening in this region – home to some of Australia’s most endangered animals.

“We respect the importance of recognising Aboriginal place names so this is a perfect opportunity to highlight the Tasmanian Aboriginal name for the Macquarie River – tinamirakuna. We are proud to be acknowledging both the traditional land owners and the important work of our partners at Greening Australia and their Tasmania Island Ark program in this way. We hope our aircraft, ‘tinamirakuna,’ will transport many visitors to the region to see its beauty for many years to come,” he said.

Rob Wood, General Manager Group Sustainability; Daisy Allen, palawa kani language Worker, Aboriginal Centre; Jonathan Duddles, Greening Australia Director of Development; and Andry Sculthorpe, Project Officer, Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.

Greening Australia’s Director of Development Jonathan Duddles said: “Greening Australia is proud to partner with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community to restore Tasmanian landscapes so that people and nature can thrive.  Re-learning traditional land management practices alongside contemporary science is important to ensure sustainable outcomes and recognition of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community’s prior and ongoing connection to the land.

“We are delighted that Virgin Australia have stepped up and shown leadership to help spread the message around conservation of this region and reconciliation by naming its Boeing 737 aircraft ‘tinamirakuna’. The use of Tasmanian Aboriginal place names is core to the recognition of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community’s connection to the land.

“All our work is carried out in a way that respects Tasmania’s traditional custodians, complements local farming businesses and encourages economic activities by creating jobs, engaging forestry and agricultural contractors, improving aesthetic and amenity values and stimulating tourism. A win-win for the environment and the midland communities,” Mr Duddles said.

Noted as Australia’s largest river restoration initiative, the Tasmania Island Ark program is rebuilding 6,000 hectares of habitat to reconnect the Central Plateau to the Eastern Tiers. This includes 35 kilometres along tinamirakuna / the Macquarie River and its tributaries. This new habitat is vital to enable wildlife to move across the midlands in search of food, shelter and breeding partners and to assist the land to adapt to the effects of climate change.

palawa kani is the reconstruction of languages used by Tasmanian Aboriginal people, researched and developed by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre. Today, palawa kani is spoken and practised within the Tasmanian Aboriginal community. Permission for the use of the name tinamirakuna has been given by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (now Corporation).

Tasmania Island Ark is financially supported by Officeworks, the Australian Government, The John Roberts Charitable Trust, Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, Tasmanian Wilderness Experiences, Tasmanian landowners and local businesses.

Virgin Australia supports the work of Greening Australia by providing flights to project locations; raising awareness of the work that Greening Australia contributes to across Australia; assisting with fundraising initiatives; and providing people-power to assist with various conservation projects being undertaken by Greening Australia.