EXCLUSIVE

Proud moment for Gumbaynggirr nation with native title wins over Gumma Peninsula and Islands and Wenonah Head

Photo courtesy of Bee Jarrett-Donovan
Photo courtesy of Bee Jarrett-Donovan

Last Wednesday the Federal Court of Australia made a consent determination which granted native title to the Gumbaynggirr People over the Gumma Peninsula and Islands.

Guardian News has spoken with Colin Jarrett who was one of two elected speakers to the claim.

He said he was "honoured" to speak on behalf of his elders who made the original claim but did not live to see this day.

He said he felt their spirit with him last Wednesday, and that gave him courage.

"It was a very emotional day and it was a very proud moment when we heard we'd won," he said.

It's been a fight that's taken over 30 years to resolve; in 1996 while waiting for the outcome from a land claim made in 1984, 17 Elders put in a native title claim for Gaagal Wanggaan (South Beach).

In 2014, after a 17-year-long wait, Justice Jayne Jagot handed down the consent determination during a special sitting in Nambucca Heads, while hundreds of people looked on and cheered.

"The fundamental truth that justice delayed is justice denied should never be overlooked and must guide our future efforts," Justice Jago said.

The land and waters of the Gumma Peninsula and Islands were originally included in that claim, but it was decided that in order to get the best outcome, that area would be left out and addressed separately later.

But now, five years after that first consent determination, the Gumbaynggirr People have cause to celebrate again with this second ruling going in their favour.

A ceremonial celebration will mark the occasion in the near future.

The Boney-Witt claim over a section of the Wenonah Head was also determined last Wednesday and native title granted to the Gumbaynggirr People.

NOTE: A full story will be coming once Guardian News has been able to speak with more of the claim's applicants.

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