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Holborow on behalf of the Yaburara & Mardudhunera People v State of Western Australia (N0 3) [2018] FCA 1108

Binomial Name: Federal Court of Australia
Date: 27 July 2018
Sub Category:Consent Determination (Native Title Act)

Pilbara Region

State/Country:Western Australia, Australia
The determination area covers approx. 9,530 sq km of land and sea southwest of Roebourne and the Dampier Peninsula. For a detailed description and maps see Schedules 1 and 2 of the determination (pdfs attached below). The area is within the jurisdiction of the City of Karratha and the Ashburton Shire Councils.
Legal Status:

Registered on the National Native Title Register

Legal Reference: FCA file no.: WAD127/1997; NNTT file no.: WCD2018/006
Subject Matter:Native Title
Summary Information:

*Holborow on behalf of the Yaburara & Mardudhunera People v State of Western Australia (N0 3) [2018] FCA 1108

Between: Valerie Holborow and Others (Yaburara Mardudhunera) (Applicant) and State of Western Australia, Hamersley Iron Pty Ltd, Robe River Mining Co Pty Ltd and Others named in the Schedule (Respondents)

Judge: Barker J


The Court made orders under s 87A and s 94A of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (the NTA) for a determination that native title exists in the terms jointly proposed by the parties, as follows.

Native title exists in part of the determination area

It consists of non-exclusive native title rights and interests 

Native title holders

The Mardudhunera People.

Non-exclusive native title rights and interests exist over part of the determination area (shown green on the maps of Schedule 2). They include the rights to:

  • hunt, fish, gather and use the traditional resources;
  • take and use water;
  • engage in cultural activities; and
  • protect places of cultural or spiritual importance.

These rights and interests are exercisable in accordance with the traditional laws and customs of the native title holders and are subject to the laws of the State and Commonwealth.

Other (non-native title) rights and interests in the determination area include:

  • multiple reserves for watering places, a stock route, public purposes, part purposes, and recreation preservation of coastal environment;
  • the Yalleen, Yarraloola, Mardie, and Karratha Station pastoral leases;
  • leaseholds for the construction and operation of a processing plant, an accommodation area for workers, and a telecommunications area;
  • roads;
  • Port of Cape Preston;
  • the Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline under the Dampier to Bunbury Pipeline Act 1997 (WA);
  • numerous mining tenements granted under the Mining Act 1904 (WA) and/or the Mining Act 1978 (WA);
  • numerous petroleum interests;
  • Telstra Corp Ltd; and
  • the KM/YM Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) (Robe River Kuruma Mardudhunera People and Yaburara Mardudhunera) and the Cape Preston ILUA (Y/M Mardie ILUA)).

See Schedule 4 of the determination (via the URL link above) for further information about the non-native title rights and interests.

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

Native Title does not exist in the area seaward of the mean low water mark of the mainland coast, or those areas (shaded pink on the maps at Schedule 2) which are subject to the following interests:

  • two freehold titles;
  • several reserves for gas pipeline purposes, conservation of flora and fauna, airstrip, government requirements etc.;
  • a leasehold for transient workforce accommodation; multiple dedicated roads;
  • the Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline;
  • taking order for a road and construction facility;
  • Telstra;
  • any other public works as defined in s 251D of the NTA and s 23C(2) of the Titles Validation Act

Prescribed body corporate

The native title is not held in trust.

The Wirrawandi Aboriginal Corporation performs the functions required under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) on behalf of the Mardudhunera People.

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

Detailed Information:


The Yaburara & Mardudhunera People (Y/M) application was made over approx. 9,530 sq km of land and waters in the Pilbara and lodged with the National Native Tribunal (NNTT) on 1 August 1996. The sea area claimed includes a cluster of islands comprising the Great Sandy Island Nature Reserve.

The application, as it was originally lodged, overlapped the litigated Ngarluma Yindjibarndi Application, but was not successful in that respect.

Details of Judgment

The parties were unable to reach agreement to include two of the ancestors referred to in the YM application as Mardudnhunera ancestors.

Nonetheless, the Mardudhunera People recognise that the descendants of those ancestors, but who are not native title holders according to Schedule 5 to the determination, may conduct activities in relation to the native title right by invitation of a native title holder, and under the KM/YM Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) [Court Note F].


Native title exists in parts of the determination area

Related Entries

  • National Native Title Tribunal
  • Wirrawandi Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC
  • Yaburara and Coastal Mardudhunera Aboriginal Corporation
  • State of Western Australia - Respondent
  • Robe River Mining Co Pty Ltd - Respondent
  • Telstra Corporation Limited - Respondent
  • Yalleen Pastoral Company Pty Ltd - Respondent
  • Legislation
  • Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)
  • Native Title Amendment Act 1998 (Cth)
  • Native Title (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Regulations 1999 (Cth)
  • People
  • Mardudhunera People - Native Title Claimant
  • Valerie Holborow and Others (Yaburara Mardudhunera) - Native Title Applicant

  • Documents

    Yaburara and Mardudhunera People (Extract for WCD2018/006 as at 17/11/2022) - ( 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) | Registered Native Title Body Corporate (RNTBC) (Native Title Act) (Australia)

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