Traditional owners of Tennant Creek Station will celebrate the recognition of their native title rights on the pastoral property.

Justice Charlesworth will hand down a non-exclusive native title consent determination over an area of approximately 3650 square kilometres to seven landholding groups, during a Federal Court sitting near Lirripi (LIRR-ipi), on the cattle station some 36 kilometres south of Tennant Creek, on Thursday 4 July at 10:30 am.

The seven land holding groups with traditional attachment to the claim area are Kankawarla (GAN-ga-war-la), Kanturrpa (GAN-tur-pa), Kurtinja (KUR –tin-ja), Patta (BA-ta), Pirttangu (BIR-tang-oo), Purrurtu (BUR-rur-doo) and Warupunju (WAR-u-pun-ju).

“Native Title gives us a say over what is happening on our country and to protect our sacred sites and dreamings. If mining or gas companies want to come onto our country, they have to sit down with us and negotiate,” said native title holder Jerry Kelly.

“The determination recognises the rights of the native title holders to hunt and gather on the land and waters and to conduct cultural activities and ceremonies,” said Francine McCarthy, the CLC’s manager of native title.

“It gives them the right to negotiate exploration and mining agreements, but unlike on Aboriginal land, they have no veto right.”

Ms McCarthy is also one of the native title holders of Tennant Creek Station.

“We can go onto country to teach our younger generations about sacred sites and dreamings, and work with the station owner to protect our waterholes, with the help of the Tennant Creek Rangers,” said Gladys Brown, native title holder.

The CLC lodged the native title application in October 2017, following mining and other development interests within Tennant Creek pastoral lease.

Tennant Creek pastoral lease, which will continue to operate as a cattle station, is home to many cultural and historical places of significance to Aboriginal people.

“Their elders and ancestors were born, lived and worked on Tennant Creek Station since the early 1900s,” said Francine McCarthy.

Like Phillip Creek Station to the north, native title holders were unsuccessful in purchasing the station in the early 2000s when it was placed on the market.