Barrow Creek (Kaytetye) Land Transfer

Category: Event
Date: 1 January 2002
Place:Barrow Creek
State/Country:Northern Territory, Australia
Alternative Names:
  • Barrow Creek (Kaytetye) Title Handover
  • Subject Matter:Recognition of Native Title or Traditional Ownership | Land Transaction
    Summary Information:
    On 27 August 2002, a deed of grant was delivered to the Thangkenharenge Aboriginal Land Trust by the Right Reverend Dr Peter Hollingworth AC, Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, over certain land at Barrow Creek. Barrow Creek is located 290 kilometres north of Alice Springs, and is ‘the birthplace of the Kaytetye language and culture’ (CLC media release). The land transfer was the result of a recommendation by the Aboriginal Land Commissioner, Justice Olney, in response to a claim under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth).
    Detailed Information:
    The land returned to the Kaytetye people by the deed of grant is an area of approximately 12.5 square kilometres, which was in the past a reservation for the Barrow Creek Telegraph Station. The land returned includes the old racecourse, the Thangkenharenge Resource Centre (which services Aboriginal communities and outstations in the Barrow Creek area), and the old Telegraph Station, but does not include the hotel at Barrow Creek. The traditional landowners call the area and its surrounds ‘Thangkenharenge country’. Within the area is an important site, the birthplace of the Kaytetye language, and various sacred sites which have associations with the four dreamings in the region. The land claim which led to the transfer was lodged by the Central Land Council on behalf of the traditional owners on 20 December 1996, and was heard in 1999 by Justice Olney. More than 30 claimants took part in the hearing at Barrow Creek, showing Justice Olney the birthplace of Kaytetye language and culture and many other sacred sites in the area. The Land Commissioner gave his report on the claim to the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs in December 1999, with a recommendation that the land be handed back to traditional owners. At the time of the transfer, traditional owners had continued to live in the claim area despite a lack of housing and public facilities, and with the Stuart Highway running through the middle of their country. It was expected that this grant of secure title would improve living conditions in the area, as it would enable traditional owners to get funding for houses and essential services; would allow them to use and occupy the land in accordance with Aboriginal tradition; and would aid economic and skills-based development, particularly through a planned expansion of the CDEP program in the area. The land returned is now held in trust by the Thangkenharenge Aboriginal Land Trust for the benefit of the traditional owners, some five hundred people. On the occasion of the transfer of title on 27 August 2002, Dr Hollingworth acknowledged the great significance of the claim area to traditional owners ‘who have cared for this country in the manner of their ancestors for countless generations’, and handed over the title deeds ‘to hold in trust for future generations who will follow in your footsteps across this country and who will continue to learn and to prosper from your knowledge and love of this land’.

    Related Entries

  • Apetyarr v Northern Territory of Australia [2014] FCA 1088
  • Organisation
  • Northern Territory of Australia
  • Commonwealth of Australia
  • Thangkenharenge Aboriginal Land Trust
  • Central Land Council
  • Legislation
  • Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth)
  • People
  • Kaytetye People
  • Thangkenharenge People

  • References

    Central Land Council (1999) Kaytetye Speak for Barrow Creek