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Wavehill (on behalf of the Wubalawun Group) v Northern Territory of Australia [2018] FCA 1602

Binomial Name: Federal Court of Australia
Date: 24 October 2018
Sub Category:Consent Determination (Native Title Act)

Roper Gulf Region

State/Country:Northern Territory, Australia
The area is made up of the land and waters within the external boundary of the Town of Larrimah. For a detailed description of the area and maps see Schedule B of the determination, attached below under documents. The area is within the jurisdiction of the Roper Gulf Region Council.
Legal Status:

Registered with the National Native Title Tribunal on the Native Title Register 24/10/2018.

Legal Reference: Federal Court file no.: NTD49/2011; National Native Title Tribunal file no.: DCD2018/005
Subject Matter:Native Title
Summary Information:

Between: Jimmy Wavehill on behalf of the Wubalawun Group (Applicant)


Northern Territory of Australia (Respondent)

Judge: White J


Native title exists in parts of the determination area

It consists of non-exclusive native title rights and interests.

Native title holders

The Wubalawun Estate Group.

Non-exclusive native title rights and interests over part of the determination area

These rights exist over the area described in Schedule C and include the rights of members of the Wubalawun EstateGroup to:

  • access, stay on, and use the area;
  • take, for any purpose, the resources of the area;and
  • protect places, areas, and things of traditional significance on the area.

Members of the estate groups associated with neighbouring estates and the spouses of the members of the Wubalawun group have the rights to:

  • access, remain on and use the area; and
  • access the resources of the area.

Non-native title rights and interests in the determination area include:

  • The rights and interests of Telstra Corporation Limited as owner or operator of telecommunications in the area; held due to the specific statutes; allowing for the access to their telecommunications facilities in the area in the performance of specific duties; and under any licence, access, or easement agreement relating to its facilities in the area.
  • The rights of Aboriginal persons, whether or not native title holders, by virtue of the Northern Territory
    Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act 1989
  • The rights of access by an employee, servant, agent or instrumentality of the Northern Territory,
    Commonwealth or other statutory authority as required in the performance of his or her statutory duties.
  • The rights and interests held due to the Water Act (NT).
  • The interests of persons who have rights and interests which have been:
    granted by the Crown using statute or its executive power, or granted by

See Schedule E for further information about the non-native title rights and interests.

In the case of conflict, the exercise of non-native title rights and interests will prevail over the non-exclusive native title

The Top End (Default PC/CLA) Aboriginal Corporation Registered Native Title Body Corporate (RNTBC) is the prescribed body corporate. It performs the functions required under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) and acts as agent for the Wubalawun Estate Group.

Full text of the determination is available via the URL link above.

Detailed Information:


On 19 October 2011, the applicant filed for a determination of native title over the area comprising the Town of Larrimah. The applicant and the respondent reached an agreement on the application and asked the Court to make the determination by consent.

Details of Judgment

The Court found it appropriate to make the determination by consent, noting that while there was no agreed-upon body corporate, the parties had proposed the Court make an order that one be nominated within the next twelve months. The CEO of the Northern Land Council commented that this was the first consent determination in the Northern Territory which recognised the right to take resources for any purposes, including commercial purposes (McLennan, 2018).

Alan Maroney, speaking on behalf of his people, stated after the judgment that "Now we have got the bargaining power in regards to talking to the NT government of assisting us build the township of Larrimah, which I believe can prosper.' (Northern Land Council, 2018)


Native title exists in part of the determination area.

Related Entries

  • National Native Title Tribunal
  • Top End (Default PBC/CLA) Aboriginal Corporations RNTBC
  • Northern Territory of Australia - Respondent
  • Roper Gulf Shire Council
  • Telstra Corporation Limited
  • Northern Land Council
  • Legislation
  • Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)
  • Native Title Amendment Act 1998 (Cth)
  • Native Title (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Regulations 1999 (Cth)
  • Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act 1989 (NT)
  • Water Act 1992 (NT)
  • People
  • Jimmy Wavehill (on behalf of the Wubalawun Group) - Native Title Applicant
  • Wubalawun Estate Group - Native Title Claimant

  • References

    Media Release
    Northern Land Council (22 December 2018) History made as native title rights finally recognised
    News Item
    Chris McLennan (24 October 2018) Tiny native title claim but happy hearts


    Extract from the National Native Title Register for DCD2018/005 as of 13/01/2012 - ( PDF | PDF | PDF | PDF | PDF | PDF)


    Native Title (Australia) | National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) (Australia) | Native Title Registers | Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Australia) | Applicant | Respondent | Consent Determination (Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)) (Australia) | Aboriginal Corporation (Australia) | Native Title Applicants | Native Title Holders (Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)) (Australia) | Native Title Representative Body (NTRB) (Australia)

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