Land handed back to Traditional Owners in Wangetti



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The Wangetti Aboriginal Land Trust and Yirrganydji people received the deeds to traditional land during a ceremony yesterday. Wangetti Aboriginal Land Trust Chair Colin Enoch. Image: Supplied.
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A new Aboriginal economic and cultural base is set to be developed in the heart of Wangetti following the official transfer of land back into the hands of Traditional Owners on Wednesday.

The Wangetti Aboriginal Land Trust and Yirrganydji people received the deeds to another 2.5 hectares of their traditional lands, marking a significant milestone in the journey of the Yirrganydji people and their continued connection to country.

The deeds were handed over in a ceremony on country with the Yirrganydji Rangers performing celebratory dances and Traditional Owners sharing their stories.

Wangetti Aboriginal Land Trust Chair Colin Enoch said the land would be developed into an economic and cultural base.

“We want to use our knowledge and understanding of the land and work with the local community to protect the unique environmental attributes, help the region grow economically, and also educate people who visit the area,” he said.

“The land is located within the Wangetti Trail Project area, so we’ll be looking at how we can connect in with eco-friendly tourism opportunities and use the trail project to be able to tell our story.

“We’ll also be looking at potentially developing a community multipurpose centre, wellbeing centre and ranger base on the land in the years to come.”

Mr Enoch said the land is a traditional woman’s place and so the Trust would like to see female rangers in the future helping to protect the land and educate the next generation.

“There’s big potential for this land, and we have a lot of hopes and plans for the future that will benefit our children and grandchildren to come while helping to grow a stronger appreciation and understanding of Aboriginal culture for all Australians and tourists.”

Member for Cook, Cynthia Lui, said the land transfer marks a “significant milestone in the journey of the Yirrganydji people and their continued connection to country.”

“The Wangetti Aboriginal Land Trust now hold almost 10 hectares along the Wangetti coast which gives them the ability to manage the environmental and cultural values of the land while also working with the Queensland Government on ecotourism and job opportunities," she said.

Member for Barron River, Craig Crawford, said work is already underway to develop the Wangetti Trail project in the area which will provide visitors a one-of-a-kind experience of the region’s Aboriginal cultural history.

“This land transfer will offer the Yirrganydji people further opportunities to share their culture and traditional land and provide more long-term jobs and business opportunities for present and future generations,” he said.

The land was transferred under the Aboriginal Land Act 1991 following an Expression of Interest from the Wangetti Aboriginal Land Trust.

The land can never be sold so that future generations will be able to continue to use and enjoy their traditional lands.

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