Nywaigi Native Title Consent Determination

April 20, 2018 at 10:00 AM

The Nywaigi native title application was authorised on 14 December 2014, and was filed with the Federal Court of Australia on 10 April 2015 and registered with the National Native Title Tribunal on 5 June 2015.  The native title application then entered a period of notification, which ran from 12 August to 11 November 2015.  Once the State accepted connection, the claim progressed very quickly to consent determination.

The Nywaigi People’s native title consent determination took place on 20 April 2018.  The Federal Court of Australia hearing, which was presided over by His Honour Justice Robertson, was held at Mungalla Station, which is some 12 kilometres from Ingham heading towards Forest Beach.  

At the conclusion of the proceedings each of the Applicants were handed a copy of the determination booklet by his Honour Justice Robertson.  There followed an afternoon of celebration, kicked off by speeches from various dignitaries. His Honour Justice Robertson was presented with a traditional shield made, designed and painted by Nywaigi Traditional Owner Phillip Rist and his son Emmett Rist, on behalf of the Nywaigi People.

The determination area covers approximately 830 square kilometres, which runs from Taylors Beach in the north to Rollingstone in the south and westwards to the Paluma and Seaview Ranges.   

The area covered by the determination contains a number of culturally and spiritually significant sites. “Spiritually, this land knows who its people are through its intimate connection of harmony and balance over thousands of years.  This is land on which we have told stories, we have fished, we have grown up on and it is land on which Nywaigi legends have been formed”, says Mr Rist.   He also goes on to say that the determination would help “restore balance” to the land. “Now more than ever before our land needs its people.  For me, not only do I have a relationship between me and my Country, but there is a significant relationship between my Country and me.  In part, this reciprocal relationship will be assured through our native title consent determination.”

I would like to thank the Applicants, Roberta Lightning, John Anderson, Gerald Berry, Victor Bligh, Victor Cassady, Phillip Rist, Evelyn Noble (who was later replaced by her sister Bernice Dwyer as the family representative) and Vannessa Oui.  Their guidance and knowledge were integral to such a timely completion of the Nywaigi native title application.

It was a great team effort on behalf of NQLC, so a big thank you to project officers, Sharon Charger and Lotu Kimiia and legal administration Laura Burton.

Written by:
Cheryl Thomson
Legal Officer