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Byron Shire
July 14, 2024

Native Title granted to Western Bundjalung

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PHOTO: A map prepared by the National Native Title Tribunal showing determined areas. (Supplied: NTSCORP)
PHOTO: A map prepared by the National Native Title Tribunal showing determined areas. (Supplied: NTSCORP)

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) has welcomed this week’s Federal Court of Australia determination of the Western Bundjalung Native Title.

Judge Jayne Jagot granted the native title claim legally recognising the rights of the Western Bundjalung people as traditional owners of the land at a gathering at the Tabulam racecourse on Tuesday.

Native title recognises the Western Bundjalung traditional owners’ rights and interests including the right to camp, hunt, fish, gather resources and conduct their cultural practices on their country.

They also have rights to be consulted and play an active role in how their country is managed.

The territory extends from the Clarence River at Moleville, north of Grafton, to Carpet Snake Creek, north of Tabulam, and from the Hogarth Range in the east to Bald Rock National Park in the west.

It includes the Aboriginal settlements at Baryulgil, Malabugilmah, Jubullam Village and Jubal.

The two main water courses of Western Bundjalung country are the Clarence River and the Rocky River.

The claim area covers more than 5,000 square kilometres and contains 24 national parks, nature reserves and state conservation areas.

NSWALC councillor for North Coast Tina Williams said the determination provided rights and recognition for future generations.

‘The Western Bundjalung determination strengthens our connection to country and our ability to teach culture,’ she said.

‘While the claim was lodged in 2011, the fight for land justice and recognition goes back a long way.

‘Our Elders fought tirelessly for this day and I pay respect to those who sadly passed away while the claim was being determined.”

Cr Williams said the determination also showed how Land Rights and Native Title could work together.

‘Today is a great day for Land Rights and Native Title. We may operate under different legislation and systems but we work together.

‘Jubullum, Baryulgil, Casino Boolange, Grafton Ngerrie, Moombahlene and Jana Ngalee Local Aboriginal Land Councils have been part of this journey.

‘When Native Title and Land Rights work together, we can focus on the bigger picture of building our people economically, social and culturally.’

Another Federal Court of Australia determination will be celebrated at Yamba on Thursday with the rights of the Yaegl peoples recognised.


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  1. What a wonderful win for racism in the Clarence valley !
    The fact that the ‘Bunjalung’ tribe only came into existence after the land-rights legislation was handed down demonstrates the cultural heritage of this area ; And the gullibility of the public and the judiciary.

    • Totally agree Ken.
      Having pioneers in the area – sadly the truth has gone with them to the grave.
      They wouldn’t have gotten away with this even 50 years ago.
      Racism….apartheid 2018.
      Trying to get names changed to towns now.
      Disgusting vote grab by Shorten

    • Ken – not true. I’ve lived in the northern rivers forever and my father worked in Aboriginal Affairs from the ‘60s. The fact you know nothing about the language group in question is not because they didn’t exist but because Australian Institutions didn’t acknowledge them or mention them in any way. Native title is bloody hard to prove – that they managed it is testament to the validity of the claim.

  2. Fantastic!!!!!
    Now for the rest of so -called Australia – Pamanyangan- or whatever this land was known as by each of the
    500 or so language groups who were dispossesed by Invasion .
    Isnt it high time we TRULY acknowledged that we are the interlopers here. and gave back in the same way to all of the Original people, The TRUE Custodians.
    This Government is built on a pack of lies (TERRA NULLIUS ) . Nobody here.
    Racism of the White European settlers .
    With this deep truth acknowledged we will be able to be a model of true multiculturism in the world, without the lie at the core . to bugger up everything and wast all of our precious time.
    If we ask outselves Why did it take so long ? to achieve this we will come evetually to the lie at the core of the formation of This Current Government System and we will be able to change it.
    The highest court of this land( which still happens to be in U.K ) has decreed sovereign rights to original people of this land, the debunking of Terra Nullius, so lets stop beating around the bush and get on with it.
    We need the wisdom of the elders more than ever and all they are waiting for is a little respect and a listening ear. then we can lead with wisdom in Multicultural Australia instead of the bullshit that we have now
    I m so glad that progress has been made.
    Congratulations to all those hard working people who persevered and got it done. |MatiJo Beams

  3. It’s funny how so many aboriginal people live in denial about their European ancestry. It never ceases to amaze me how they can blame the descendants of Europeans for the invasion when the majority are themselves the descendants of Europeans. They choose to ignore their ancestry because it’s inconvenient to the cause. Many aboriginal people have more European ancestry than aboriginal ancestry but for some unexplained reason they are not the slightest bit responsible for the white invasion. In contrast a person with no aboriginal ancestry is branded an invader and should be eternally sorry for past wrongs.


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