Mi­rarr snare Jabiru rights

NT News - - NEWS - JA­SON WALLS In Kakadu

A TWO-decade fight for recog­ni­tion by Kakadu’s tra­di­tional own­ers has con­cluded with the grant­ing of na­tive ti­tle rights over Jabiru town­ship.

The Fed­eral Court held a spe­cial on-coun­try sit­ting in the min­ing town at the gate­way to the na­tional park yes­ter­day in which Jus­tice John Grif­fiths for­mally recog­nised the rights and in­ter­ests of the Mi­rarr.

The hear­ing brought to a close pro­ceed­ings orig­i­nally ini­ti­ated by se­nior el­der Yvonne Mar­garula and her sis­ter Nida Man­gar­nbarr in 1998.

But in hand­ing down the de­ci­sion, Jus­tice Grif­fiths noted the Mi­rarr’s con­nec­tion to the land dated back much fur­ther than the claim’s “long and com­pli­cated his­tory”.

“Mi­rarr coun­try con­tains Aus­tralia’s old­est doc­u­mented site of hu­man pres­ence and oc­cu­pa­tion, a stag­ger­ing 65,000 years,” he said.

“A mo­ment’s re­flec­tion to com­pare those 65,000 years of oc­cu­pa­tion with the 2000 years we use on the cal­en­dar and to ap­pre­ci­ate that’s about 30 times more since the birth of Christ puts into a quite poignant per­spec­tive the sig­nif­i­cance of to­day’s event.”

Af­ter the for­mal­i­ties were over, Ms Mar­garula said the Mi­rarr were happy to see the long jour­ney fi­nally come to an end.

“We are Mi­rarr, we bring the land back now, that was a long time we’ve been wait­ing,” she said. Next gen­er­a­tion tra­di­tional owner Si­mon Mud­jandi said the town­ship of Jabiru was now look­ing for­ward to a bright fu­ture for lo­cals and tourists alike.

“As tra­di­tional own­ers of this town and the sur­round­ing areas Mi­rarr have lots of plans for the fu­ture of Jabiru. We are work­ing with the NT and the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment to make this plan be­come re­al­ity,” he said.

“Lots of peo­ple know about Kakadu, they know it is im­por­tant world her­itage coun­try. We Mi­rarr peo­ple want to show them how spe­cial this coun­try is and to make Jabiru a great town for lo­cals too.

“We want Jabiru to be a place to show peo­ple, we want peo­ple to come and learn about our coun­try and cul­ture, we look for­ward to wel­com­ing peo­ple to the new town of Jabiru on beau­ti­ful Mi­rarr coun­try.” Mr Mud­jandi said suc­cess­ful re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the mine site would be key to se­cur­ing the town’s fu­ture.

“We want to see the min­ing com­pany do a re­ally good job of clean­ing it up. They need to make it good enough to be part of the world her­itage na­tional park,” he said.

Pic­ture: JUSTIN KENNEDY

Jabiru town­ship na­tive ti­tle de­ter­mi­na­tion in Kakadu

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.