Lake Eyre!

G'day all, a release
IT is the biggest land trade of modern times, a little Outback town in South Australia for 71,000sq km of desert country.
At 11.30am (CST) today, a hearing of the Federal Court of Australia, at Finniss Springs Station near Lake Eyre, will officially award the Arabana People the entire lake and the areas between Oodnadatta, Coober Pedy and Marree, under a native title claim.
Under the consent order of the Federal Court, the native title claim over the township of Marree, population 70, will be lifted to complete the swap, which has been 14 years in the making.
The chairman of the Arabana Aboriginal Corporation, Aaron Stuart, said the significance of today's Federal Court hearing could not be underestimated and Lake Eyre and the land surrounding it was being returned to the care of its rightful owners.
"Lake Eyre is a sacred and significant place to all Arabana people," he said.
"We care for that land and the lake and we want to see the land protected. This does not mean that we object to tourists ... we are happy to share our country."
The invitation to share Lake Eyre, however, is not extended to boat users who have sailed on the lake during rare times of flood. And the native title claim also gives the Arabana people negotiating powers with mining giants for facilities, services and royalties.
"We are happy for people to come and enjoy this land and the lake, swim in it and see its beauty, but we do not want boats on the lake," Mr Stuart said. "We want the site protected and we want the whole of the lake protected ... we also worry about safety with boats."
Mr Stuart said the Arabana people got back Finniss Springs Station, once a mission site, and a long-term pastoral lease on the property which would be central to plans to establish tourism operations and a community.
They have also been given eight blocks in Marree, which will become Crown land.
Marree Hotel publican Phil Turner said: "Historically, the recognition of the native title is incredibly significant and is a point in history.
"I think if there's any concern it's that there's a general lack of understanding among all people about what it all means," he said.
Mr Stuart said ceremonies such as today's, expected to be attended by up to 300 people, were a great step in the process of reconciliation.
By Byran Littlely
From: The Advertiser
May 22, 2012
"the only thing constant in my life is change"

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Reply By: IronMan - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 10:02

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 10:02
And in breaking news, the cost of access permits to any and all areas surrounding Lake Eyre just tripled.
AnswerID: 486448

Follow Up By: Bazooka - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 10:47

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 10:47
That of course never happens elsewhere does it.
FollowupID: 761702

Reply By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 12:08

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 12:08
Without the need to turn into a racist or political attack, can someone explain the desire to limit boating activity on the lake? Surely it's not due to safety reasons alone.

What of the future of the Lake Eyre Yacht Club?

AnswerID: 486453

Follow Up By: The Landy - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 14:56

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 14:56
Quoted from an interview published by the ABC on 3 March, 2011

Aaron Stuart is the Arabunna people's native title chairman.

"I totally disagree with anyone forming a yacht club for a novel appearance just to, you know, entertain their boredom up in that country," he said.

"To Arabunna people it's important to us. A lot of people think Uluru, Ayers Rock, you know, it's important to that Indigenous tribe.

"It's the same thing here. Lake Eyre is important to this Indigenous tribe, the Arabunna people."

The Arabunna are fighting to have native title recognised over Lake Eyre National Park.

Aaron Stuart said sailing on the lake interferes with their belief that natural objects have a soul.

They also want to respect what they call the keeper of the lake - a spirit that's instilled fear in the Arabunna for generations.

"We just want Lake Eyre to stay as it is, you know. That's our job," Mr Stuart said.
FollowupID: 761712

Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 15:53

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 15:53

Whilst I can see what they are saying, I'm not sure I understand the difference between swimming and boating on the Lake.

Our plans to head out that way soon will need to be reviewed.

FollowupID: 761716

Follow Up By: dazren - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 16:56

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 16:56
andrew wrote,
Without the need to turn into a racist or political attack

Sorry Andrew, ?? not possible ?? if you have a different view on subjects such as this !!. It is not regarded as an ''opinion'' it will be a racist remark.
FollowupID: 761718

Follow Up By: Bushranger1 - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 17:25

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 17:25
If the land is"important to us" then why do the communities more often than not look like a rubbish tip!

I have photos taken at a number of communities to support this but of course I wont post them here.

Of course I know some local non aboriginal communities that look like a rubbish tip too. It just irks me when seeing what I have seen does little to promote any sympathy for handing land back to these communities.

FollowupID: 761720

Follow Up By: Shaker - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 18:10

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 18:10
I thought that the indigenous population used dugout or bark canoes, surely these were used on natural waterways with a "soul".
It's hard not be cynical when these claims are directed at tourism hot spots, tourism = dollars!

I have always done the right thing in regard to obtaining travel permits, but if this means even more, then I think I'll take my chances.

FollowupID: 761726

Follow Up By: lindsay - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 18:38

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 18:38
If you read Elliot Prices book "The Spirit of Lake Eyre" he states that the indigeonous people did not go near the lake because of the bad spirits there.
Interesting isn't it, only happens where we want to go or there are mining activities.
FollowupID: 761731

Follow Up By: P and JM - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 16:49

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 16:49

Are you real sure the Late Elliot Price of Muloorina Station wrote the book "The Spirit of lake Eyre" ? I think you will find it was written by Val Johnson.

Elliot was Illiterate and would not have written a book. I knew Elliot and his family through working on Muloorina in the late 60's.

FollowupID: 761817

Reply By: equinox - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 19:32

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 19:32
Hi aussiedingo,

What a load of Media sensationalist crap, at its very best.

And already judging by some of the replies in this thread, people believe it!!!

Where are the words, "Non-Exclusive Determination" written in this article?

As I see it the Arabana people would have about as much legal power to stop people from using the lake as the traditional owners of Uluru have stopping people from climbing it.

The sky is not falling, don't believe everything you read!!!
Thanks for posting though, good topic!!


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AnswerID: 486485

Follow Up By: Commodore LEYC - Monday, May 28, 2012 at 20:13

Monday, May 28, 2012 at 20:13
You are dead right equinox. The Arabunna are suffering the misconception that they now own Lake Eyre National Park. This park is part of the public estate. It belongs to all Australians of all cultures in a multicultural society and must be shared. The judgement gave the Arabunna a NON exclusive right. They have been conned by the Govt and their lawyer.

ExplorOz members may not be aware of why this is all happening. Hint - the expansion of BHP's uranium mine at Olympic Dam (Roxby Downs).

Unfortunately stupid politicians in SA, despite knowing otherwise have hoodwinked the Arabunna into excepting Lake Eyre for their approval of the mine.

However a thorn exists in the side of both these parties in the form of the Lake Eyre Yacht Club. We're a determined bunch of old farts who aren't going to be pushed around by anyone. Particularly when it concerns individual rights that have been around since the year dot.

There exists a legal principle called the public trust doctrine (a common law right) which has assured "the people" access to navigable waterways for over 2 thousand years. There have been decisions already by federal courts that native title cannot override common law rights because it would destroy our legal system.

You may ask how is Lake Eyre a navigable waterway? Well safety regulations contained within the SA Harbors and Navigation Act list the safety requirements required for boating on Lake Eyre!!! The truth is the water is no longer under the control of DENR but the Dept of Transport. For the Arabunna to say they are concerned for our safety is the biggest joke ever and none of their business. Our members have circumnavigated the world, regularly sail to Antarctica and have been in Sydney Hobart Races. If you ever got in to trouble on Lake Eyre you just get out and walk.

The Vice Commodore and I proved our case last year when, after being threatened with a $50K fine by the minister of Aboriginal Affairs Grace Portolesi, we enjoyed a pleasant week sailing on the Lake. Guess what happened? Well six months later I was sent a petty little fine from DENR which I refused to pay (I bet they said "Bugger") and asked for the matter to go to Court. Seven months later and well over 12 months since the alleged offence I haven't heard anything. They not only lie but are gutless. The week before her announcement one of her staff confirmed that neither native title nor aboriginal heritage issues can stop us from boating - but could we please meet (ie come to a financial arrangement) with them. Like hell.

We are still fighting the matter - just not as publicly. Of course every article in last weeks press mentioned our plight. We thank them for the publicity.

The latest development (rumour only at this stage) is that the Arabunna have now asked for Govt legislation to ban boating. We would expect tremendous public anger with this as it is setting a precedent by which your local waterway, park, even footy oval could be made out of bounds to European culture (unless you pay for a guided tour). It would also be taken to the High Court by us.

If my culture similarly impinged on the rights of the Arabunna to enter and recreate in/on Lake Eyre we would be called racist.

Commodore Bob
Lake Eyre Yacht Club

FollowupID: 762274

Follow Up By: Rockape - Monday, May 28, 2012 at 20:50

Monday, May 28, 2012 at 20:50
Commodore Bob,
congratulations for getting some sense back into this area.

I am not a racist but as you know this is ridiculous.

The greatest problem faced by Australia is not native title but MINING. They are locking up huge tracts of land and everywhere you go all you see is keep out signs.

I just drive straight through their signs and my motto is. DON"T ASK FOR PERMISSION ALWAYS ASK FOR FORGIVENESS. Works for me.

Happy sailing,

FollowupID: 762279

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