“ALL rise … the Federal Court of Australia is now in session.”
These words, spoken inside a simple marquis on the banks of the Nambucca River at Bellwood Park on Friday, opened the historic proceedings that saw the Gumbaynggirr people gain native title over the Gumma-Warrell Creek area, known as Gaagal Wanggaan (South Beach) National Park.
More than 200 Gumbaynggirr people travelled from all corners of their country for the long-awaited determination.
In her judgement Justice Jayne Jagot made it very clear that the passing of more than 17 years between the original claim and last week’s resolution could not be considered satisfactory.
“There is no native title claim so complex, or bedevilled by seemingly intractable issues, which can justify such a delay,” Justice Jagot said.
* See this week's Guardian News for the full story - out on Thursday