The Darumbal people of central Queensland were recognised as the traditional owners of their land a Federal Court decision on June 21. The native title claim was first made in 1997, making it one of the longest-running claims in Queensland.
The decision covers more than 14,500 sq km of land and waters, spanning the Banana, Livingstone and Rockhampton Regional Councils, including the city of Rockhampton, the town centres of Yeppoon, Stanwell, Ogmore and Gracemere, as well as the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area.
It recognises the Darumbal people's exclusive native title over parts of this land as well as their non-exclusive native title rights to access, hunt, fish and gather, conduct ceremonies and teach on the remainder of these lands.
Darumbal traditional owner Doug Hatfield said the determination meant Darumbal people had formal legal recognition as the traditional owners of their country.
"Having native title will legitimise our status in Australian society as the true and proper traditional owners of the Rockhampton and Capricorn Coast region of Central Queensland."
"We have a formal legitimate basis on which to engage more seriously with governments on most matters that affect us and our country.
"It will allow us to teach our children the distinct cultural beliefs that have sustained all of our generations.
"We are slowly rebuilding the relationships between the different Darumbal families and to the extent we can rebuild our society and this has been a positive outcome for our community. We hope to see our community prosper and achieve its full potential," Mr Hatfield said.