News

A place to call home: Native Title granted to Iman people over lands surrounding Taroom and Wandoan

Justice John Reeves shakes hands with Heather Tobane on an historic day in Taroom on Thursday, when the Iman people were granted Native Title over their lands around Taroom and Wandoan.
Justice John Reeves shakes hands with Heather Tobane on an historic day in Taroom on Thursday, when the Iman people were granted Native Title over their lands around Taroom and Wandoan. Matthew Newton

THERE are moments in time where words, for what they are worth, fail us.

Thursday’s historic sitting of the Federal Court in Taroom, which concluded the Iman people’s 19 year battle to regain native title over their lands, was one of those moments.

With the consent determination made, Justice John Reeves adjourned the court, and a hush momentarily descended over the 400-strong gallery as thousands of years of Iman history, already inscribed upon the landscape, was officially inscribed in law.

No one knew what to say.

Then a voice from the crowd cried out: “Take a look around you people, we did it!”

And the room dissolved into cheers, applause, laughter and tears.

The late Patrick Bundi, an Iman man, once said, “To nearly all aboriginal people I have met; who I am is the same as where my family’s ancestors were from.”

His people can now stand proud knowing their connection to country has been officially recognised by the one of the highest courts in the land.

The native title consent determination made yesterday pertains to a 14,000 square kilometre area of land around the towns of Taroom and Wandoan.

The Iman people celebrated their successful native title claim in Taroom on Thursday.
The Iman people celebrated their successful native title claim in Taroom on Thursday. Matthew Newton

For Dena Dodd-Ugle, who gleefully described herself as a “former applicant”, yesterday was a momentous occasion.

She and her family had been a part of the push to regain native title over the land of her ancestors since it was first talked about 23 years ago.

It was her aunties who urged her to carry on the fight, no matter what.

“A lot of people have died along the way,” she said.

“It means so much to us - this is our country. It’s always been our country and now the Federal Court, one of the highest courts in Australia has determined it to be our country.”

Ken Waterton, who was instrumental in the successful prosecution of the native title claim, said he was “over the moon” at the determination.

“It means everything,” he said.

“It’s who we are, where we come from. (The land) is our mother and this is our coming home.”

Yesterday’s decision went a long way to recognising past wrongs, in particular the atrocities committed upon the Iman people by white pastoralists in the mid-19th century.

The worst of these atrocities was the massacre of thousands of Iman people in 1858 led by a man called William Fraser, who later became a cult hero in Queensland and never served time for the slaughtering of women and children.

The deaths of thousands of Indigenous Australians was a retaliation to the Hornet Bank massacre of 1857, where Iman people killed 11 settlers in response to a series of killings committed by Europeans.

Several academics had written that the Iman people were completely wiped out in the 1857 massacre.

“History wrote us off, but here we are,” Mrs Dodd-Ugle said, pointing to the 400-strong crowd and the many people who were unable to make the journey to Taroom for the historic occasion.

“There’s thousands of us now.”

Justice John Reeves, in summarising his determination, said yesterday’s court order did not grant Iman people native title.

Rather, it recognised their pre-existing native title and connection to country which spanned the 150 years since they were forced into hiding.

Just Us Lawyers’ Colin Hardie, the Iman people’s legal representative, said yesterday was the first step of recognition of their ancient culture and beliefs.

“This country is both the traditional country of their ancestors and of the current and future generations of Iman people,” he said.

“But beyond all, today is recognition that the Iman people have a future and not just a past.”

Topics:  federal court native title taroom wandoan


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Miles turns up the volume

ROCK ON: Jazz in the Garden at Kylie Bourne's property Sunnyview, Miles in 2011.

Miles ready to rock and roll.

Codettes make history

Condamine Codette Emily Mickelborough tackles Dalby Wheatchix player Kate Thompson.

Condamine Codettes make a splash.

Rustlers reborn as Downtown Cafe

NEW OWNER: Jatinder Kumar is the new owner of the Downtown Cafe, replacing Rustlers at 25 Bell St, Chinchilla.

Jatinder Kumar purchases cafe from RSL Memorial Club

Local Partners

Extreme two years for region's melon farmers

In just two years, melon growers have seen both extremes of Mother Nature

CMC Rocks is just the ticket for Eric Paslay

HAPPY TO BE HERE: American country singer Eric Paslay will play CMC Rocks 2017.

Country music singer is touring overseas for the first time.

Daredevils of Nitro Circus to thrill Lismore

Oakes Oval in Lismore will host the sell-out, worldwide phenomenon that is Nitro Circus Live during its 15-city Australian tour in April.

The (in)famous 55-foot high Nitro Giganta ramp is the centrepiece

CHOOSING LIFE: Emu Park veteran leads way out of PTSD

WINNING THE FIGHT: Andrea Josephs with her daughter Kyla (10) at the Emu Park Anzac Memorial ahead of her official Matilda Poppy launch this weekend.

Andrea Josephs will officially launch Matilda Poppy in new hometown

Morgan Evans opens up about his CMC love story

SINGER returns from Nashville to host tonight's CMC Music Awards, which he co-hosted last year with his now fiance Kelsea Ballerini.

What's on the big screen this week

OLD TALE: Emma Watson brings to life the character of Belle in Beauty and the Beast.

DISNEY'S remake of Beauty and the Beast opens to rave reviews.

MKR recap: Josh and Amy figure out how to get along

Josh and Amy have figured out how to get along and cook well. Stay away from each other.

THEY’RE the couple we love to hate, but something changed tonight.

Mariah’s making a movie we probably don’t need

Mariah Carey and her dog Jack are prepping for a Christmas movie.

Mariah Carey is making animated movie ready for Christmas.

CMC Rocks is just the ticket for Eric Paslay

HAPPY TO BE HERE: American country singer Eric Paslay will play CMC Rocks 2017.

Country music singer is touring overseas for the first time.

MOVIE REVIEW: Disney remake a beauty-ful story

Emma Watson and Dan Stevens star in the movie Beauty and the Beast.

Emma Watson stars as Belle in classic tale of finding unlikely love

MOVIE REVIEW: Peppa Pig's Aussie adventure will delight fans

A scene from My First Cinema Experience: Peppa Pig's Australian Holiday.

Peppa visits Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef in feature film debut

'Dangerous precedent': Beachfront tree clearing rejected

WHAT A VIEW: A Google Earth aerial view of the strip of houses and sand dunes at Shelly Beach which could be set for changes.

BREAKING: Beachfront residents' bold bid to improve views fails

Couple ditch Springfield for $350 million rural lifestyle

Sales consultant Rachel Hargreaves (left) of Oliver Hume Waterlea at Wallon with new land owner Rebecca Mallett.

“To purchase a block the same size would be double the price here"

It's official: Byron Bay unaffordable

MILLIONAIRES ROW: The Housing Commission house in Keats St, Byron Bay which sold at auction on Saturday for $1.65 million.

Buying a home in Bay Bay is a dream too far for some

Coast home luring interstate buyers sold

PRIZED POSITION: Blue clip location, peaceful surroundings, spacious living with swimming pool, tennis court on 4562sq
m

The property was described as a 'Queenslander with Hamptons style'

Stylish Coast home lures buyers from four states

PRIZED POSITION: The six-bedroom house with swimming pool and floodlit tennis court is on 4562sq
m.

Expansive property boasts serious space

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!