Lawyers and representatives from the landholding groups with Native Title documents for Lake Nash and Georgina Downs.

Native Title has been declared on two pastoral leases near the Queensland border.

On Wednesday 15 August the Federal Court of Australia sat at Alpurrurulam Community approximately 650 kilometres northeast of Alice Springs to recognise the rights and interests of native title holders of the Lake Nash and Georgina Downs pastoral leases.

The native title application was filed with the court in 2001 on behalf of the Ilperrelhelam, Malarrarr, Nwerrarr, Meyt, Itnwerrengayt and Ampwertety landholding groups.

The Court’s determination recognises their traditional rights, including the rights to access and hunt, gather and fish on the land and waters, the right to conduct cultural activities and ceremonies, the right to camp on the land, erect shelters and other structures, and it secures their right to negotiate over any future acts such as mining.

Lake Nash and Georgina Downs are run as pastoral stations and the claimants’ native title rights will co-exist with the rights of the pastoral leaseholders to graze cattle.  

CLC Director David Ross congratulated the native title holders and paid tribute to the many claimants who passed away during the process.

After a long battle, Lake Nash (Alpurrurulam) became a Community Living Area in 1991 which meant a small area of land was excised from the station to enable the traditional owners to live there. Many of the current claimants or their parents were born and lived on Lake Nash Station near the waterhole for most of their lives.