Bea­gle Bay ti­tle win

Broome Advertiser - - News - Fed­eral Court Judge An­thony North in Bea­gle Bay. Nick But­terly

Hun­dreds gath­ered to cel­e­brate in the re­mote com­mu­nity of Bea­gle Bay as an his­toric na­tive ti­tle de­ter­mi­na­tion drew a line un­der a decade-long fight for com­pet­ing Abo­rig­i­nal claims to the Dampier Penin­sula.

Fed­eral Court Judge An­thony North de­liv­ered the judg­ment to lo­cals dur­ing a cer­e­mony at the town foot­ball oval, con­firm­ing the Nyul Nyul, Ni­man­burr and Jabirr Jabirr Ngum­barl peo­ple as the right­ful na­tive ti­tle hold­ers over a com­bined area of about 12,000sqkm.

The rul­ing cov­ered James Price Point, which at one point was con­sid­ered as the site of a Wood­side gas plant.

The de­ci­sion in ef­fect puts an end to a claim to the area by the Goolara­booloo peo­ple, who gath­ered celebrity sup­port in their cam­paign against the plant.

That cam­paign split the lo­cal com­mu­nity, many of whom wanted the plant to cre­ate rev­enue and jobs. As part of the de­ter­mi­na­tion, it was con­firmed that the Goolara­booloo laid claim to the area as de­scen­dants of Paddy Roe, who had only come to the area in the 1930s.

Wood­side aban­doned the pro­ject on eco­nomic grounds, but many lo­cals have com­plained the cam­paign run by the Goolara­booloo and en­vi­ron­men­tal groups con­tributed to the re­sult.

The Goolara­booloo re­cently cre­ated fric­tion in the Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity af­ter they launched a State Her­itage claim over the town of Broome, de­spite an­other group be­ing recog­nised as the tra­di­tional na­tive ti­tle hold­ers.

Kim­ber­ley Land Coun­cil spokesman Ty­ronne Gar­stone said the next step would be to set up a cor­po­ra­tion to man­age what hap­pened on the land.

Pic­ture: Char­lotte Dickie

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