Nanda native title determination in Kalbarri

Ben Parkhurst
Published 24 Dec 2018 
about  Eurardy Reserve  
Watching the proceedings. Photo Richard McLellan,<br/> Watching the proceedings. Photo Richard McLellan,
Federal court in session at Kalbarri. Photo Richard McLellan.<br/> Federal court in session at Kalbarri. Photo Richard McLellan.
The Murchison River flowing through the gorges of Kalbarri National Park, now a part of Nanda native title. Photo Ben Parkhurst,<br/> The Murchison River flowing through the gorges of Kalbarri National Park, now a part of Nanda native title. Photo Ben Parkhurst,

One of the highlights of this year was attending a native title consent determination for a claim by the Nanda people. Many different Nanda families attended, and it felt significant to have everyone from elders of the community to the young children be present at this historic event. The setting was truly appropriate on the banks of the Murchison River as it flows into the Indian Ocean at Kalbarri, in the heart of Nanda country.

A sitting of the federal court of Australia is probably something that hasn’t happened before in Kalbarri and isn’t likely again. The judge and other officials in their regalia lent the occasion the gravitas it deserved. The judge acknowledged that the process had taken too long and respect was paid to elders who had begun the process but had not lived to see the happy result.

Following the ruling it was a pleasure to see people’s happiness and hear the history and stories of some of those who have been integral to the native title claim. Speakers discussed the challenges of working through a native title claim for more than 10 years as well as the opportunities the ruling offered for the future.

The determination comes at an opportune time for mid-west staff as we strengthen our relationship with the Nanda people, on whose country we live and work at Eurardy. Indeed Eurardy played host to one extended Nanda family from Perth to assist in making it easier for them to attend this important event.

Early in the new year we have Malleefowl monitoring planned with a group of Nanda ladies and when the weather cools we are hoping to host the broader Nanda working group at Eurardy so we can begin to fill in the cultural gaps in our management plan and ensure we're protecting the country as we should. This all marks the beginning of a period of close cooperation and Nanda people having more access to their country than in previous years.

Federal court in session at Kalbarri. Photo Richard McLellan.<br/> Federal court in session at Kalbarri. Photo Richard McLellan.
The Murchison River flowing through the gorges of Kalbarri National Park, now a part of Nanda native title. Photo Ben Parkhurst,<br/> The Murchison River flowing through the gorges of Kalbarri National Park, now a part of Nanda native title. Photo Ben Parkhurst,