Gunggari #2 Native Title Determination

As Gunggari People, we protect our country, practice our laws and customs, and maintain a continuous connection to our homeland that has existed for many thousands of years.

This connection was first recognised in a decision handed down by Justice John Reeves of the Federal Court on 22 June 2012, when the Gunggari People were determined to have native title over approximately 1,184 sq km of our traditional country that lies to the south of Mitchell, and west of the Maranoa River.

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Gunggari #3 Native Title Determination

In a further native title determination made by the Federal Court on 5 December 2014, the Gunggari People were found to have native title rights and interests over an additional 146 sq km, which includes 120-kilometre stretch of the Maranoa River, south of the Mitchell, as well as various parcels of land east of the river.

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Gunggari #4 Native Title Claim

A further native title claim, the Gunggari #4 claim, taking in the town of Mitchell and lands of the upper Maranoa watershed, is still on foot. The claim area covers approximately 19,400 sq km.

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Determination and Claim Area Map

Below is a map showing the Gunggari #2 and #3 native title determination areas, as well as the Gunggari #4 native title claim area.

Rights and Interests

Currently, our native title rights and interests include, but are not limited to, the right to:

  • access and travel on our lands
  • camp and erect temporary shelters
  • take traditional natural resources (including hunting and gathering)
  • conduct religious and spiritual activities such as ceremonies
  • maintain and protect places of importance and areas of significance from physical harm
  • teach on country the physical and spiritual attributes of the land
  • light fires for cooking
  • take and use the water.

Gunggari Timeline

A timeline of key events in the history of the Gunggari People follows:

1844 - 1846

Roderick Mitchell, the Assistant Commissioner of Crown Lands for the Liverpool district, and his father, Thomas Mitchell, made the first European contact with the Gunggari people on an expedition through the Maranoa district.

1847

The Gunggari People resisted first European settlement in the Maranoa district, targeting both settlers and their livestock.

Circa 1860

Frontier violence emerges with European settlers and the Native Mounted Police.

1906 - 1907

Early removals of Gunggari People from the Forest Vale area (within the Gunggari #4 claim area).

1914 - 1941

Over 100 Gunggari People were removed in this period and placed on government reserves and missions, including Taroom, Purga, Barambah/Cherbourg, Palm Island and Woorabinda. Some more fortunate Gunggari People were able to find work on stations, particularly in gangs, fencing and mustering, while the women became domestic servants.

Circa 1920-30

The Gunggari People who had avoided institutionalisation resided in the Top Yumba, an Aboriginal fringe settlement on the Maranoa River. By 1932, families represented were Jacksons, Swans, McCarthys, Youngs, Saunders, Smiths, Collins, Munns, Fosters, Corrigans and Pages.

1936

Council ordered dispersal of the Top Yumba camp, so a new reserve, leading to the establishment of the Bottom Yumba downstream on the east side of the river. For many years, several families called it home.

1967

The Bottom Yumba at Mitchell was bulldozed and the Aboriginal community was again forcibly disbanded under Council orders. Dispirited people nevertheless continued to meet on the Yumba and to engage socially.
On 27 May, the Australia Constitution was changed by the Constitution Alteration (Aboriginals) 1967 (Act No 55 of 1967), following a referendum. The alteration enabled the inclusion of Indigenous Australians in the national census.

1971

Queensland Parliament passed the Aborigines Act.

1972

The Aboriginal Embassy was pitched outside of Parliament House in Canberra, demonstrating for land rights.

1974

Granny Emily Jackson recorded the traditional Gunggari song ‘Illmargan’ to celebrate the spirit and power of the water, particularly the Maranoa River.

1975

An Aboriginal Kindergarten in Mitchell opened with assistance from the Save the Children Fund.

 

The Racial Discrimination Act was passed by the Federal Parliament.

 

1976

The Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act was passed by the Federal Parliament.

 

 

1978

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (Queensland Reserves and Communities) Act and the Local Government (Aboriginal Lands) Act were both passed by the Federal Parliament.

1979

The Aboriginal community formed the Mitchell Aboriginal Housing Company.

1983

A community organisation named Nalingu was established in Mitchell to promote, maintain and research local Aboriginal history, culture, heritage and language.

1984

The Mitchell Aboriginal community created a cultural book sharing their memories and experiences of the Yumbas. The book was entitled Nalingu, the Gunggari word for ‘yours and mine’.

1985

The first Yumba Reunion was held to celebrate Gunggari culture, language and history.

Circa 1990

The Nalingu Aboriginal Corporation gained a cultural lease over the Yumba and the old school house was relocated to the Yumba.
As a reconciliation initiative, the owners of the pastoral property, North Yanco, offered to come to agreement with Traditional Owners to allow special rights of access, camping and hunting.

1991

The Aboriginal Land Act and the Torres Strait Islanders Land Act were passed by the Queensland Parliament.

1992

On 3 June 1992, the High Court of Australia handed down its landmark decision in Mabo v Queensland (No 2), rejecting the doctrine of terra nullius and paving the way for the Native Title Act.

1993

The Native Title Act was passed by the Federal Parliament, and the Native Title (Queensland) Act was passed by the Queensland State Parliament.

1994

The Nalingu Aboriginal Corporation coordinated Stage 1 of the Anthropological Survey of the Gas Pipeline from Jackson Downs to Wallumbilla.

1996

On 8 March, the Gunggari People’s first native title claim, Gunggari #1 (QUD6019/1998), was filed, covering land from Bollon and St George in the south up to Mt Moffatt (the headwaters of the Maranoa), west to Charleville and east to Roma.

1997

The 700-page report of the ‘Stolen Children’ National Inquiry, ‘Bringing Them Home’, was published.

1998

The Gunggari #1 claim was substantially amended to eliminate all overlaps with other native title claims, removing the Gunggari’s claim over Mitchell in the process.
The Native Title Amendment Act was passed by the Federal Parliament.

2001

Negotiations with the State of Queensland over an Indigenous land use agreement (ILUA) resulted in the Gunggari #1 claim being amended to include only block of land held at Dunkeld and Bollon.
On 23 August, the Gunggari People filed a second native title claim over the remaining land of Gunggari #1.

2003

The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act and the Torres Strait Cultural Heritage Act were both passed by the Queensland State Parliament.

2006 - 2007

The Gunggari # 2 claim was amended to remove Bollon as a result of mediation with the Kooma people, neighbours to the Gunggari People.

2008

On 13 February, then Prime Minister, the Hon. Kevin Rudd, issued a formal apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples, particularly to the Stolen Generations.

2010

In June, the Gunggari Aboriginal Property Association Inc. was formed to accept and manage the property at Dunkeld, granted to the Gunggari People by the State of Queensland.
On 13 November, 14 hectares of crown land held at Dunkeld were transferred under the Land Act and Aboriginal Land Act via an ILUA and alternative settlement process resolving the Gunggari #1 claim. The Gunggari Aboriginal Property Association Inc. own and manage the freehold title.

2012

On 22 June, the Gunggari People were granted recognition as Native Title Holders over what had been Part B of the Gunggari #1 claim, encompassing Dunkeld. The judgement was handed down at the Mitchell Shire Hall.
On 10 October, two native title claims (Gunggari #3 and Gunggari #4) were filed towards the final resolution of the Gunggari People’s claims. Gunggari #4 is ongoing, covering the town of Mitchell and north to the headwaters of the Maranoa River.

2014

On 5 December, the Gunggari #3 claim, covering from Amby and Muckadilla in the north to Begonia in the south, including a 120km stretch of the Maranoa River, was determined by consent.