An ancient connection to almost 100,000 hectares of land and waters around the Fraser Coast will be recognised after a special Federal Court determination was handed down today.
The Butchulla people’s unbroken ties to more of their traditional country will be recognised at a Consent Determination Hearing in Dayman Park, Urangan.
Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said the court was expected to recognise native title rights to almost 100,000 hectares of land and waters between Rainbow Beach and Burrum Heads.
“This determination recognises the Butchulla people’s history with their land and protects their rights for future generations, including their rights to fish, hunt, hold ceremonies, and pass on dreaming stories and bush lore on their ancestral land,” Mr Saunders said.
“This determination will be the Butchulla people’s second determination in five years and adds to the previous 2014 native title determination which recognised 164,958 hectares of land at Fraser Island, known by Butchulla traditional owners as K’gari.”
Traditional owner and applicant Bronwyn De Satge said today’s determination and formal recognition of the Butchulla people’s native title rights and their historical and ongoing connection to this land has been a long time coming and was a memorable occasion.
“For countless generations my family have managed this country across many seasons,” Ms De Satge said.
“We’ve fished, we’ve harvested fruits and berries, we’ve undertaken burning and cleared scrub, we’ve held ceremonies and we’ve told stories.
“We’ve also made artefacts including grass skirts, Mooka Mooka (whale) bone necklaces and other jewellery.
“This determination will help us to keep this ongoing and continuous connection and to pass it down through generations.
“Importantly, we can also continue our traditional dancing ceremonies with clap sticks, boomerangs and possum skins as we celebrate our connection to this land and its waters,” Ms De Satge said.
This determination recognises exclusive native title rights and interests over more than 17,219 hectares, and non-exclusive native title rights and interests over more than 79,608 hectares of land.
Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham congratulated the Butchulla people, other respondents and the Federal Court for the spirit of co-operation in achieving this recognition.
“The Queensland Government is committed to recognising the significant connection our First Nations People have with the land, rivers and creeks of our beautiful state,” he said.
“This determination is not just for the benefit of the Butchulla people but for all Queenslanders.”
A map of the area is available on the DNRME media centre.