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May 20th 2005
Wulgurukaba to claim for Townsville

Wulgurukaba spokesperson Chrissy George With the opening tomorrow morning of the Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Cultural Centre a long contested claim over the Townsville area by competing clans appears to have been settled.

A decision, by the Federal Court, effective from March 31 this year, "struck out" a claim by the Bindal people for a shared interest in the Townsville area and the most likely beneficiaries of the decision will become Magnetic Island's Traditional Owners, the Wulgurukaba clan who have now made a new native title application for the Townsville area.

According to a clearly elated, Ms Chrissy George from the Wulgurukaba, "The native title claim has been lodged and is awaiting registration. This is the biggest step we have made towards native title recognition of our rights and interests in the broader Townsville region." she said.

The register includes a three month public notification period so that any other interested parties can indicate their interest.

"This will be much more controversial than the Magnetic Island claim," said Ms George.

The right to become the sole negotiating party for all future developments in Townsville is likely to involve participation in projects worth many millions of dollars.

But Chrissy George sees this as a plus for development as the Wulgurukaba may become the only aboriginal party who need to be consulted with for a future project.

Magnetic Times has so far unsuccessfully sought comment from a Bindal spokesperson but understands that their claim was rejected due to lack of documented anthropological evidence.

The overlapping claims for the land, which incorporates Townsville and Magnetic Island had held up any possibility of a native title decision being made but it is now likely that no other claimant apart from other "interested parties" will emerge.

The Wulgurukaba have been involved in the Native Title process since 1993 when they first lodged their claim.

Wulgurukaba to claim for Townsville
George Heys
May 21st 2005
My wife and I worked in Tennant Creek, as teachers with the Northern Territory Education Department, from August 1990 to January 1993.
It was there we first got to know of Chrissie George, a highly respected local Aboriginal person, head of the local Aboriginal Congress representing the local central Australian clans: the Warlpiri and the Waramangu.
Chrissie George left the Tennant Creek scene in 1992. We remember hearing that she had bought real estate in Magnetic Island, Queensland.
We have since relocated to the Townsville area ourselves and have inadvertenty made contact with Chrissie George and her daughters, whom we knew in Tennant Creek.
We remember strongly relating Chrissie George to the central Australian clans: the Warlpiri and the Waramangu.
We have, this week, read of Chrissie George's representing the Wulguruukaba's claim for Townsville. We were surprised as we thought of Ms George as belonging to one or other of the two central Australian clans involved with Tenant Creek, NT.
Ten years work in the Northern Territory left us with the impression that Aboriginal people are extremely connected to their country/clan. People from other country/clan were referred to as "Balanda" which means "foreigner" or even "white".
Peter Francis Hughes
May 23rd 2005
It is pleasing to see the matters concerning the Wulgurukaba peoples and their native title claims are still making news. Any progress towards their successful claim and reconciliation is an advancement for Magnetic Island.
As Townsville has been voted as 'Australia's most rascist city', it is pleasing to see the people of Magnetic Island advancing the indigenous cause.
Land rights is a very important issue for indigenous Australians and successful title to their land is merely the first step in a long process that is very much overdue.
Perhaps then the governments will think twice before granting permits to such unsustainable developments as that proposed for Radical Bay.
Another legacy of the ex New Zealander, Joh Bjelke Peterson.
Peter F. Hughes
May 23rd 2005
Mr Heys could resolve his "surprise" by finding an answer before he commits his thoughts, out loud and bigoted, to paper.
Clearly (and not surprisingly), there are things about a person that this Mr Heys does not know. One thing we all know is that every person , at least for a moment in their life, has a father and a mother. It is just possible, in fact quite likely, that the father and the mother have different origins. Think of your own origins Mr Heys.
Sometimes, particularly with Aboriginal people from the Australia of the 20th Century, the Aboriginal 'protection' system's bureaucracy deliberately separated people from their origins and from the records of their origins. Any Aboriginal person who survived and thrived despite the best efforts of this protection system deserves congratulations.
So congratulations Chrissy George and more power to the Wulgurukaba people.
Chris George
May 23rd 2005
In response to Mr. Heys enlightened response, yes I was working at Tennant Creek, and yes I was working for the Anyinginyi Congress Aboriginal Corporation. My position was one of Senior Management and yes I did represent the Aboriginal People of the Tennant Creek Area in many community development issues in this position.

No Mr Heys I am sure you were aware that I was not a Walpri or a Waramangu person as I always claimed my identity as a Wulgurukaba Aboriginal Woman who had strong connections to the Magnetic Island, Townsville Area, tht elders of the Tennant Creek Aboriginal Communities and indeed the Barkly Region accepted me as such.

In all my years of working in the Tennant Creek area I never once heard an Aboriginal Person refer to me as a white or foreigner, my name was a Kuminji name and could not be spoken and all Aboriginal people referred to me under my skin name.(Numbajimba.) and still do.

chris george

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