In July 2011, the Federal Court of Australia visited Injaridjin Waterhole on the Davenport Range National Park, roughly 400 kilometres north of Alice Springs, to recognise the native title rights of the traditional owners of the Kurundi pastoral lease.
The court handed down its native title consent determination recognising the non-exclusive native title rights of the claimants over the 3857 square kilometres held under the Kurundi Perpetual Pastoral Lease (PPL).
The decision is the outcome of a native title claim made on behalf of the Mirtartu, Warupunju, Arrawajin and Tijampara landholding groups.
The court’s determination recognises their traditional rights, including the right to hunt, gather and fish on the land and waters, the right to conduct cultural activities and ceremonies, the right to live on the land, and for that purpose, to camp, erect shelters and other structures, and it secures their right to negotiate over any future acts such as mining.
The native title claimants have maintained their strong connection to their country on the Kurundi pastoral lease in sometimes difficult circumstances.
Many of the claimants and their ancestors have lived and worked at the station over many decades. Working as stockmen gave them an opportunity to stay on their country, learn all their stories and abide by their law.
Claimant Pilot Carr was born on the end of the Kurundi airstrip and lived and worked as a stockman on Kurundi Station most of his life. Another, Pat Murphy, was born on the station, and his father, Murphy Jappanangka, worked as a stockman there, later taking part in the Kurundi walk-off for equal wages in 1977.
The claimants hope that the determination will help them to continue to protect their country and sacred sites on Kurundi Station into the future.
The Kurundi PPL continues to be run as a cattle station, and the native title rights recognised by the Federal Court will co-exist with the pastoral lease.
The Native Title Determination Application over Kurundi pastoral lease was originally filed on 28 February 2001 in response to the desire of traditional owners to better protect sacred sites and to safeguard their rights.
There have been a number of successful land claims bordering Kurundi PPL resulting in the grant of Aboriginal land. Bordering Kurundi PPL on the south is Anurrete Aboriginal Land Trust (ALT) and Erlterlapentye ALT (Davenport Range National Park), and on the western border are Mungkarta and Warumungu ALTs. On the southwest border lies Singleton PPL and on the east is Epenarra PPL.