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Spotted Tiger Bore on Harts Range returned

August 1993

SPOTTED TIGER BORE ON HARTS RANGE RETURNED Vol2 No29 August 1993 Claim First Lodged: June 1984 Recommended for Grant: May 1992 Title Handback: July 6 1993 Area Returned: 5 sq km Two small areas, of approximately 1 square mile each (total 5 sq km), were returned to the Akekarrwenteme Ureyenge Aboriginal Land Trust on July 6. Mr Petrick said the community at nearby Atitjere, near Harts Range, had really been looking forward to receiving their title deeds from the Minister.

The titles, in the Harts Range area to the north-east of Alice Springs, were returned by the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Mr Robert Tickner.

The story of the Easter Arrernte traditional owners is tragically typical of the many Aboriginal peoples who have been dispossessed by the pastoral industry in the Northern Territory.

Mr Tickner spoke of the sad history which saw many people forcibly removed from the area to live on missions. "Conditions were often appalling and many people suffered from the newly introduced disease of meningitis, tuberculosis and trachoma," he said.

The traditional landowners saw their country not only invaded by pastoralists, but by an influx of miners in the 1930s and a large army base during World War II.

As has happened so often, it was Aboriginal labour which helped to establish and maintain the infrastructure used by pastoralists, miners and the army while they were steadily dispossessed of their country.

The two areas, Spotted Tiger Bore and Faxall's Well, are former water reserve land surrounded by Mount Riddock station. The areas were returned following a land claim which was first lodged in Jun 1984.

The claim hearing began in July 1991. There was extraordinary opposition to the claim, largely as a result of unfounded fears that a successful claim would deny prospectors and gem collectors access to the gemfields in the area.

However, not only will access to the public continue, the traditional landowners themselves are keen to take an active part in gem collecting in the region. Although the areas are extremely small, around 300 Eastern Arrernte people will benefit from the return of the land.

One group plans to live on the are and has enthusiastic plans to establish prospecting and cultural tourism enterprises.

"We are going to collect the gem stones and some help from the CLC we want to do some gem cutting and then sell the gems in our community store and in jewellery stores in town," said Tony Petrick.

"We also want tourists to come and have a look and a dig around. We will probably have a smaller tourist gem area and we may have some cultural tours as well." Mr Petrick said.