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Manas v State of Queensland [2006] FCA 413

Binomial Name: Federal Court of Australia
Date: 13 April 2006
Sub Category:Consent Determination (Native Title Act)
Place:Torres Strait
State/Country:Quebec, Australia
'(T)he land and waters on the landward side of the High Water Mark of Lot 185 on Crown Plan TS236 known as Murrabar Islet (also referred to as Channel Island, and Murbayl Islet) Lot 13 on Crown Plan TS247 known as Sarbi Islet (also referred to as Bond Island), Lot 14 on Crown Plan TS247 known as Iem Islet (also referred to as North Possession Island), Lot 116 on Crown Plan TS277 known as Zagarsup Islet (also referred to as Zagarsum and also known as Tobin Island), Lot 117 on Crown Plan TS277 known as Kulbi Islet (also referred to as Portlock Island), Lots 113-115 on Crown Plan TS276, Lot 134 on Crown Plan TS277, Lot 10 on USL36708 known as Muknab Rock, and Lot 4 on USL36712 known as Kapril Rock and shown on the plan in Schedule 1 to this order' (para 1, Queensland [2006] FCA 413).
Legal Status: Registered on the National Native Title Register (
Legal Reference: Federal Court No: QUD6003/2002
Alternative Names:
  • Mualgal People #2
  • Subject Matter:Native Title | Water
    Summary Information:

    John Manas on his own behalf and on behalf of the Mualgal People v State of Queensland [2006] FCA 413

    Between: John Manas on his own behalf and on behalf of the Mualgal People (APPLICANT) and State of Queensland (RESPONDENT).

    Judge: Dowsett J
    Where made: Brisbane
    Determination: Native title was found to exist in the entire determination area.

    The area covered by the native title claim includes over 80 uninhabited islands, islets and rocks in far north Queensland's Torres Strait, in the vicinity of Mua Island.

    The native title rights found to exist in the determination area are those of exclusive possession in relation to land; that is, the right to possess, occupy, use and enjoy the land to the exclusion of all others. In relation to the areas of water in the determination area, the native title holders have the right to fish, hunt, gather and take water for the purpose of 'satisfying personal, domestic or non-commercial communal needs'. These rights do not include the right to exclude others (para 3, Queensland [2006] FCA 413).

    These rights are exercisable in accordance with traditional laws and customs, the laws of the State and Commonwealth and the other interests that exist in the determination area. These other interests are described in Schedule 3, and include the rights of the Torres Shire Council as the local government, as well as the maritime rights of Papua New Guinea.

    The native title holders are the Mualgal People (as described in Schedule 2) who are the descendants of one or more of the apical ancestors: Samukie and Tuku, Babun, Kupad, Goba, Maga, Kanai, Kulka, Anu Namai, Maiamaia, Gai, Nakau, Iaka/Aiaka and Dadu, Waina and Jack Moa and Koia. Also included are those Torres Strait Islanders adopted by the Mualgal People according to traditional law or custom.

    The registered native title body corporate in relation to this determination is the Mualgal (Torres Strait Islanders) Corporation.
    Detailed Information:

    This consent determination was made in conjunction with another claim, that of Nona and Manas v State of Queensland [2006] FCA 412 ('Badu & Moa People #2'). These two consent determinations recognise the Badulgal and Mualgal people's native title over 80 uninhabited island in the Torres Strait.

    Torres Strait Regional Authority Chairperson Mr Toshie Kris said that the decision allowed for the preservation of 'sacred traditions…for future generations to learn and draw inspiration from.' He also acknowledged 'the Meriam people whose struggle for Native Title with the historic Mabo Case of 1992 set the precedent for other in our region to follow that path.' The Torres Strait is the subject of 27 consent determinations, over half of the total number for Australia.

    Related Entries

  • Nona and Manas v State of Queensland [2006] FCA 412
  • Moa (St Pauls Island) Torres Strait Social Housing Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA)
  • Moa Infrastructure and Housing Land Use Agreement (ILUA)
  • Organisation
  • National Native Title Tribunal
  • Torres Strait Regional Authority
  • Mualgal (Torres Strait Islanders) Corporation RNTBC
  • State of Queensland - Respondent
  • Legislation
  • Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)
  • Native Title Amendment Act 1998 (Cth)
  • People
  • Mualgal People
  • John Manas on his own behalf and on behalf of the Mualgal People - Native Title Claimant

  • References

    Case Law
    Federal Court of Australia (2006) Manas v State of Queensland [2006] FCA 413
    Media Release
    National Native Title Tribunal (2006) Native title recognised over Torres Strait islands
    ABC Online - Message Stick Online (2006) QLD: Another Native Title Win for Torres Strait Traditional Owners


    Native Title (Australia) | Consent Determination (Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)) (Australia)

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