The History of the Central Land Council

The roots of the Central Land Council lie in the history of Aboriginal struggle for justice and our rights to their traditional land.

Famous historic events which led the struggle were the strike and walk off by the Gurindji people at Wave Hill cattle station in 1966.

In February 1973 the Commonwealth Government set up a Royal Commission under Mr Justice Woodward to inquire into how land rights might be achieved in the Northern Territory.

Justice Woodward’s first report in July 1973 recommended that a Central and a Northern Land Council be established in order to present to him the views of Aboriginal people.

After considering Mr Justice Woodward’s final report, the Whitlam Labor Government drew up a Land Rights Bill, but the Government was dismissed before it was passed.

The Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 was eventually passed by the Liberal/Country Government on the 16th December 1976 and it came into operation on 26th January 1977.

This gave Aboriginal people title to most of the Aboriginal reserve lands in the Northern Territory and the opportunity to claim other land not already owned, leased or being used by someone else.

Today Aboriginal people own some 49 percent of the land in the Northern Territory.