December 4th marked a great celebration for Malgana people with the consent determination of Native Title in the Shark Bay area including Bush Heritage’s Hamelin Reserve and the surrounding World Heritage Area. The Federal Court session was held on the foreshore in Denham at the request of Malgana traditional owners and as a sign of respect to the achievement of native title after a long 20-year legal process.
The ceremony was emotional with speeches made by Malgana elders and leaders who all talked about the importance of Malgana native title rights being recognised in Australian law, the positive future and hope that the recognition of native title rights enables and the responsibility to look after country for future generations.
Leaders also spoke of the challenges of the native title process and the hard work and dedication it has required to achieve the determination. Sadness was expressed for those who had passed before having their native title rights recognised and hope vested in the next generation to carry on the traditions of Malgana people. The day was clearly a new beginning for Malgana people.
After the handing down of the determination by the court a great feed of local mullet and whiting was enjoyed by all on the foreshore with cultural performances to close out an uplifting day.
Bush Heritage was pleased and proud to be able to attend the ceremony and extend our congratulations to Malgana people. We value our existing relationship and look forward to strengthening it, and we're working with the Malgana Aboriginal Corporation and its ranger program to enable the collaborative management of Hamelin Reserve.
Hamish is working with Bush Heritage to progress collaborative management on Hamelin Station Reserve.