November 29, 2019
The first Native Title land claim in the South Burnett area was decided on Monday when the Federal Court recognised the rights of the traditional custodians of more than 330ha of country between Chinchilla and Glencoe.
The boundary of the Auburn Hawkwood determination area extends into the western and south-western parts of the South Burnett Regional Council area, and council was named as a respondent in the case.
Other interested parties included the Western Downs, Banana and North Burnett councils, the State of Queensland, Telstra, Ergon Energy and local landholders.
The applicants in the case were Robert Clancy, Elizabeth Law, Erica Gyemore, Brian Clancy, Elizabeth Blucher, Ashley Saltner, Christine Bosworth, Jennifer Wragge and Julieanne Eisemann, on behalf of the Auburn Hawkwood people.
The consent determination follows a long and complicated legal process with claims by the Wulli Wulli people lodged with the National Native Title Tribunal as far back as 1997.
Monday’s ruling recognises exclusive native title rights and interests over about 159ha, and non-exclusive native title rights and interests over about 170ha of land.
The native title will be held in trust by the Auburn Hawkwood People Aboriginal Corporation.
“This determination recognises the Auburn Hawkwood people’s rights to fish, hunt, hold ceremonies, and pass on Dreaming stories and bush lore on their ancestral land,” Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said.
He congratulated the Auburn Hawkwood people, other respondents and the Federal Court for the spirit of co-operation in achieving the consent determination.
Traditional owner Christine Bosworth said it was a significant milestone for her people, with formal recognition of their native title rights and their historical and ongoing connection to country.
“The recognition of our connection to this land ensures the Auburn Hawkwood people can now work with government and pastoralists to properly manage the country in an environmental and sustainable way – like our ancestors did before us,” Mrs Bosworth said.
“This determination is another step on our journey and empowers us.
“We are connected both spiritually and physically to our land, it holds our history, our names, our stories and our healing and burial places.”