Today marks 30 years since the Mabo decision that saw the overturning of terra nullius — an expression claiming land was owned by no-one prior to white settlement.
Today marks a very significant milestone for the Waanyi People. Today we celebrate the handover of the Boodjamulla National Park back to its rightful owners.
Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park is one of Queensland's most significant geological parks, with interesting rocks and landscapes spanning hundreds of millions of years.
Aboriginal occupation at Lawn Hill dates back at least 17,000 years and may extend beyond 30,000 years, possibly the longest continual occupation of an area in Australia. The Aboriginal Traditional Owners, the Waanyi people, know this country as Boodjamulla or the Rainbow Serpent country. According to the Waanyi people, Boodjamulla—the Rainbow Serpent—formed the Lawn Hill Gorge area and created the permanent spring water. To the Waanyi people, Lawn Hill Gorge is a sacred place used only for ceremonial and celebratory purposes. They believe that if you tamper with the water, pollute it or take it for granted, the Rainbow Serpent will leave and take all the water with him. During the wet season, the Waanyi people would gather under overhanging rocks and in caves, while in the dry months they would camp in paperbark shelters along the creek banks. They made paperbark canoes for travelling short distances and used a shield-shaped wooden dish, called a coolaman, to carry babies, prepare food or transport fire and food. The Waanyi people were hunters and gatherers. Men hunted while the women and children gathered edible plants. Boomerangs and spears were used for hunting while grass-woven nets were used for catching fish. Boodjamulla country provided plenty of food for the Waanyi people. Their staple diet consisted of fish (wirigatyigatyi), turtle (wabungara), kangaroo (mailadyi), and goanna (dyambapna), and was supplemented with berries, mussels (mulla mulla), pandanus fruit (bulalula), wild banana and cabbage palms cores (wodidy). They used stones to grind lily seeds for damper and used earth ovens (dundee) of hot coals and rocks for cooking. Evidence of Aboriginal occupation can still be found today in the remaining mussel middens, grindstone relics, and rock art. Waanyi Elders have interpreted some of these sites, providing visitors with an understanding of their traditional lifestyle.
For more information click on the link below.
The Burke Shire Council has kindly agreed to provide land, infrastructure, and utilities to the newly formed Ngumari Waanyi Ranger t to use as a temporary ranger base. An area beside the Council works depot in Gregory has been offered and will allow the development of temporary offices, accommodation units and work area from which rangers can operate. The council has also provided demountables as well as access to water and power. This temporary facility will allow the new ranger unit to commence work immediately upon joining the Ngumari Waanyi team. We thank the Burke Shire Mayor, Ernie Camp, CEO Dan McKinlay and Councillor John Clarke for their support. The development of a permanent, built-for-purpose, ranger station is planned for Gregory and will commence once a site has been secured. Negotiations are currently underway
The Waanyi PBC and Waanyi Joint Venture are pleased to release the first jointly developed Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park (BNP) brochure.
Through the joint management of the Park, the Cooperative Management Council (CMC) comprising QPWS and Waanyi PBC representatives, designed the BNP brochure which represents the integration of Waanyi culture and knowledge into the Park. The strong integration of the Waanyi culture in the Brochure represents the development of the CMC and Waanyi into Park management through the Boodjamulla Management Plan planned for gazettal in June 2022.
BNP is one of Queensland’s most scenic national parks which is situated within the remote northwest highlands of Queensland on Waanyi country. The park features spectacular gorge country, sandstone ranges and World Heritage fossils. BNP acknowledges the Waanyi People as the First Australians and the Custodians of Boodjamulla. They pay respect to Elders of the past, present, and emerging in maintaining the culture, country and spiritual connection to the land. The Waanyi Aboriginal people welcome you to their country and ask that you respect their special place.
Click here to download the Boodjamulla National Park Brochure
The Waanyi Joint Venture, in conjunction with Hacon Pastoral Company, is proud to have supported Davin Watson in his theory and practical training towards gaining a commercial helicopter pilot's licence. The training is almost complete and we are so excited for what the future holds for Davin!
The WJV has supported Cowboys House since the commencement of the Training Contract. WJV funding contributes to the two Careers Transitions Officers in the House, who provide invaluable support to the students and their working life once they have finished school. The Careers Transitions Officers work together with the students and local businesses to arrange traineeships and apprenticeships, offering various career pathways for the students of the house.
The WJV has supported the CLCAC Ranger Program for a number of years now, with our funding put towards CLCAC's training and development program for the rangers. Caring for country in a culturally sensitive manner has been another key focus for the WJV as part of our work under the Training Contract. This will continue to expand with the recent establishment of the Ngumari Waanyi Ranger Program.
the NgumTri Waanyi Ranger unit is in action! Last week Ranger Coordinator, Glendon Connolly braved the heat for the first weed control activity of the new unit, targeting areas around Gregory and the quarry pit. It’s certainly hot work especially in full PPE but mission accomplished!
For more than a decade now, Australians from every corner of the country, in schools, businesses and community groups, have shown their support for Close the Gap by marking National Close the Gap Day on the third Thursday of March each year. This National Close the Gap Day, we have an opportunity to send our governments a clear message that Australians value health equality as a fundamental right for all. On National Close the Gap Day we encourage you to get involved and host an activity in your workplace, home, community or school. Our aim is to bring people together to share information, and most importantly, to take meaningful action in support of achieving health equality for First Nations Peoples.
CLCAC’s Land & Sea Management Unit has two (2) very successful Indigenous Land & Sea Ranger Groups located in Burketown and Normanton which employs 19 full time Rangers and two Ranger Coordinators who are responsible for activities that protect and manage the natural and cultural resources of the southern Gulf of Carpentaria for the long-term benefits of Traditional Owner Groups and Communities.
Meet the team
Name: Glendon Connolly
Position Title: Ngumari Waanyi Ranger Coordinator
CLCAC start date: 11/01/2022
What do you enjoy most about your role? Working on Country and looking after it for the future for our kids.
Hobby: Going bush with the family
Favourite food: Bush Tucker
Favourite music: Country-reggae
Favourite sport: NRL- GO THE BRONCOS!
January 18, 2022
Boodjamulla National Park management plan has been developed and is ready for public consultation.
Following the successful signed Statement of Commitment (SoC) the co-designed management plan was developed by the Waanyi Native Title Aboriginal Corporation (Waanyi PBC) and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services (QPWS) in consultation with key stakeholders including the Waanyi people.
The development of this plan will assist QPWS to efficiently transfer Boodjamulla management under co-operative management to the Waanyi PBC and assist them to achieve their strategic goals outlined in the Waanyi PBC 2020-2025 Strategic Plan.
Waanyi Lore Man and chairman of the Waanyi PBC Mr Alec Doomadgee said “This is an important document for the Waanyi People as it outlines a cooperative management approach for caring for Country alongside QPWS. Our people have sustainably lived here for thousands of years, and we will continue to look after this land because it is our connection to our past, our present and our future”.
The Coorperative Management Council (CMC), established in April 2021, is equally represented by both QPWS and Waanyi people and responsible for the implementation and oversight of the Plan.
Queenslanders are invited to have their say on the future management of one of the state’s most scenic and remote national parks. The draft Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park management plan is available here.
The closing date for submissions is midnight on Friday, 18 February 2022.
More information on Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park can be viewed at:
October 7, 2021
The Waanyi PBC and Waanyi Joint Venture are pleased to announce that a Statement of Commitment (SoC) by the Waanyi PBC and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services and Partnerships has been officially signed off.
The co-developed SoC document for the Boodjamulla Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) negotiations is significant step towards achieving Waanyi PBC’s vision and plan to provide a better sustainable future for the Waanyi people of Northwest Queensland. In addition, the document strengthens and highlights the existing positive working relationship between both parties that currently exists, it also emphasizes the importance of the partnership in delivering Co-stewardship of Boodjamulla National Park.
Waanyi Joint Venture has been supporting the Boodjamulla Project through providing Project coordination and subject expertise, as well as attaining funding to support the Project.
Click here if you would like to see the Statement of Commitment document.
December 24, 2021
Kids from Doomadgee and Gununa recently had a hands-on opportunity to learn about some of the amazing animals that existed on Waanyi Country millions of years ago.
Claudette Albert, Waanyi PBC Director and member of the Riversleigh World Heritage Advisory Committee along with Tanya Bougoure and Renee Wilson of Waanyi Joint Venture and Ellen Thyer of the World Heritage Unit, recently visited schools in the region to show students the specially prepared Fossil kits from the Riversleigh World Heritage Area. Over two days, Claudette, Tanya, Renee and Ellen talked with over 500 students from Doomadgee and Gununa. The Fossil kits contain fossils from animals that existed millions years ago and showcase some of the special creatures still preserved in limestone rock at Riversleigh.
Riversleigh, part of the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites World Heritage Area is a 10,000ha patch within Boodjamulla National Park. It was World Heritage listed 28 years ago and has uncovered exceptional examples of Australia’s ancient animals including meat-eating kangaroos, giant 5-metre-long freshwater crocodiles and pouched lions the size of large dogs.
Riversleigh’s fossils were formed in the mineral rich limestone landscape around 25 million years ago when the area was a lush rainforest with huge freshwater lakes. The ancient animals fell into the lakes or were dragged in by giant crocs where their remains became buried and preserved in the sediments that hardened over time as the landscape dried out.
The huge rock you can see from the road at Riversleigh’s D Site is the partial remains of the muddy bottom of a huge lake and provides knowledge on the science of how mammals evolved in Australia. The site was coined by Sir David Attenborough as one of the best fossil sites in the world.
It’s not all about the science though, it’s also a cultural story. The Waanyi Joint Venture is working with the PBC and the World Heritage Unit on capturing knowledge to add to Riversleigh’s international significance and rich fossil story.
“It was an honour to be welcomed by the young people of Gununa and Doomadgee and hope this helps to empower young people to be future World Heritage leaders”-Claudette Albert
The latest Waanyi Native Title determination may only have taken four years to get through a court process, but it's part of a much longer fight for Waanyi people
By Keira Jenkins
Source: NITV News 28 SEP 2021
Waanyi people in Queensland's gulf country are celebrating a significant Native Title win this week.
The Federal Court formally recognised Waanyi Native Title over a 441 square kilometre area between the Northern Territory border and Bourketown.
Waanyi Prescribed Body Corporate chairman Alec Doomadgee says this not only means Waanyi people will have rights to negotiate land use of the area, but it also means healing can begin.
"I'm thankful that I can be part of this change-making for my people," he told NITV News.
"But there's still a long way to go. We want to use these Native Title rights for the benefit of all Waanyi people, not just a few, not just one family, all our people."
The determination follows a successful 2018 Native Title claim for Waanyi people of almost 18,000 square kilometres of land west and south of the Northern Territory border.
The latest case took four years, a relatively short time compared to other Native Title applications, but for Waanyi people, it has been a long time coming.
Mr Doomadgee said the case is just one small part of a fight spanning 40 years, when his people led a walk off at Doomadgee mission, establishing the Waanyi Garawa Land Trust in the Northern Territory.
Mr Doomadgee said one of the men leading this movement in the 1980s was his father, who died in 2007.
"This was unfinished business that started a long time ago," he said.
"This is a significant win for Waanyi people. This is fulfilling the dreams of our Elders who came before."
But Mr Doomadgee said this is just the beginning for Waanyi people.
"We have big dreams," he said.
"It's easy to sit back on your laurels and say 'that's done now' but I won't be satisfied until Waanyi people are owning Waanyi business on Waanyi land.
"The way forward is independence, including economic independence. This Native Title is a way of taking our power back, it's a means to a greater goal."
The Native Title wins come as the Commonwealth Government announced the National Native Title Corporation will receive funding for another three years.
"This funding will provide a firm footing for the NNTC to support Traditional Owners navigate the native title system and receive the full range of benefits from their native title holdings," Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt said.
Through the Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger Program, the Queensland Government partners with First Nations communities to care for land and sea country, provide jobs and training and engage future generations.
Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger groups work to conserve Queensland’s important ecosystems and cultural heritage on country, in locations stretching from Cape York to the Bunya Mountains.
The Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger Program is growing! One hundred new Indigenous Land and Sea ranger positions are being created over the next three years. This will double the number of jobs supported through the Program. Funding for the first 54 of these positions has been allocated across 13 communities. The following organisations have been successful in their grant applications to employ rangers to care for Country.
Over the next 12 months, the Queensland Government will work with these organisations to establish the new rangers, which will add to the 24 established Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea ranger groups. A second round of grant funding, for further Indigenous Land and Sea ranger positions, is expected to be announced in 2022-23
The Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger Program assists Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations with grants to employ more than 150 Indigenous Land and Sea rangers across 37 of Queensland’s regional and remote communities. The program provides training, networking and partnership support for ranger groups.
Indigenous Land and Sea rangers deliver negotiated work plans that reflect Traditional Owner, local community, and Queensland Government priorities. Their activities include a wide range of conservation services including cultural burns, feral animal and pest plant control, soil conservation, cultural heritage site protection and biodiversity monitoring. Community engagement activities include Junior Ranger programs and local community events.Minjerribah ranger undertaking prescribed burn.
Traditional Owners employed as Indigenous Land and Sea rangers deliver conservation services that successfully combine traditional knowledge of country and western science. Rangers are skilled in conservation work and bring experience, inter-generational knowledge sharing and formal conservation qualifications to managing country.
Rangers share knowledge at annual Indigenous Land and Sea ranger workshops (PDF, 5 MB), at which ranger teams from across the state gather, hear stories of success, meet with partners and undertake local field trips to broaden their understanding of caring for country approaches.
The program works with ranger groups to diversify their income and attract other investors. Other investors are invited to partner in supporting this highly successful program and a partnership prospectus is available, highlighting the opportunities to sponsor Indigenous ranger groups. The success of Indigenous ranger programs in delivering outcomes for First Nations communities in environmental, social and economic terms has been confirmed through a variety of evaluations and other studies. These include a 2015 evaluation of the program which found that it is delivering on its conservation, First Nations participation and economic objectives
It is a small parcel of land measuring just 441 square kilometres, but to the Waanyi people in Queensland's Gulf Country it has huge significance. The Federal Court has formally recognised native title over the area between the Northern Territory border and Burketown, giving the Waanyi people rights to negotiate future land use, including for pastoral and mining purposes.
It follows a successful 2018 native title claim over almost 18,000 sq km of land to the south and west to the Northern Territory border.
Compared to average native title applications, the Waanyi people's latest case was fast, taking only four years.
But Waanyi Prescribed Body Corporate chairman Alec Doomadgee — tribal name Jarrbikgala — said the fight for land rights had lasted generations.
"The reason I reckon my dad would be smiling down on us right now is because it's an area that he grew up in and where his Janmi ground [is], which was his initiation ground, where he became a young man through tribal lore," the Garawa, Gangalidda and Waanyi man said.
Mr Doomadgee said the Waanyi people were inspired by the Wave Hill walk off in 1966, which eventually secured the Waanyi Garawa Land Trust in the Northern Territory in the 1980s.
Mr Doomadgee said the latest native title claim was the missing link for his father.
"I look back at my life and growing up around him, and his passion, and his real love for his country, and his culture, and hearing him talk about the protection of our sacred sites — it gives me comfort knowing we can protect our cultural heritage," he said.
"It meant a lot to me … to my great-grandfather and my grandfather, my mother, my uncles," Guyanda Waanyi man Gary Rockland said.
"They're no longer here with us."
New Century have released details on the ‘Significant Potential’ of the resources surrounding the South Block (Magazine Hill) to extend the Century Mine life and increase production. However, the required agreements to mine the block with the Waanyi PBC have not yet been reached.
Waanyi PBC Chairman Alec Doomadgee says the PBC through their lawyers are in negotiations with New Century, to develop a Cultural Heritage Management Plan for the expansion.
“We have been negotiating on behalf of the Waanyi people for months now, to make sure that we get the best deal possible for all the Waanyi mob. This is a process which is being led by our lawyers, and I am confident that we will come to an agreement soon. This agreement will go a long way to ensuring that the mine’s long term benefits flow on to the future generations of Waanyi people through a fair and sustainable Cultural Heritage Management Plan.”
The PBC will keep it’s members informed on the negotiations, and will announce any progressions through the website.
Members of the Waanyi PBC unanimously carried a resolution to change the PBC’s membership requirements, allowing Waanyi people living outside the Gulf to become members.
Prior to the decision to remove clause 12.2 from the PBC’s rulebook, all members of the PBC were required to live in the communities of Biddungu, Mornington Island, Burketown, Camooweal, Mt Isa or Normanton.
That requirement has now been completely removed, allowing Waanyi people to become members no matter where they live.
The Waanyi PBC memebers present discussed the resolution prior to the vote, and heard that many of those present were unable to be members due to the clause. These stories, and the view that all Waanyi people should be able to become members of the PBC despite their place of residence saw the resolution passed unanimously.
Waanyi PBC Chairman Alec Doomadgee said this was a great moment for all Waanyi people, and signalled a major shift in how the PBC operates into the future.
“In the past, the PBC has operated in a way that has shut certain people out. Today that ends. We now have a PBC that is truly open and welcoming to all Waanyi people, and this is something we should all be proud of. This marks the start of a new era for our Mob, an era where we come together as one Mob with one voice – and no Waanyi person is left out. “
“I am proud to have played a small part in this decision, but this isn’t about any one person or family. This is about making sure all the Waanyi mob are together and strong, now and in the future.”