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Topic: terra nullius
Why are the secrets of the Pitjantjara people for sale in Adelaide?

Why are the secrets of the Pitjantjara people for sale in Adelaide?

Foster and Others v Mountford and Rigby Ltd 14 ALR 71 (1976) was an unusual case in a number of respects. Firstly, the plaintiffs were members of an unincorporated association (the Pitjantjara Council) that represented the Pitjantjara people, who live on large tracts of land that spans the south-western corner of the Northern Territory, the north-west of South Australia and the far central east of Western Australia ...

Locum nullius: what’s in a name?

Locum nullius: what’s in a name?

This is a guest post by Chips Mackinolty, an artist and journalist based in Palermo and Darwin.  On 9 August 1974, eight years almost to the day after the famous Wave Hill Walk Off, a group of largely Mangarrayi speaking families walked off Elsey Station. Yes, the place of the colonialist pastoral fantasy of We […]

Raelene Webb QC: Re-imagining Native Title through the Eyes of Justice Kirby

Raelene Webb QC: Re-imagining Native Title through the Eyes of Justice Kirby

Let’s start 25 years ago with Mabo when the High Court found ‘the Meriam people are entitled as against the whole world to possession, occupation, use and enjoyment of the lands of the Murray Islands’. With those words, the High Court inserted the legal doctrine of native title into Australian law. This was a truly watershed moment in Australian legal history, though it was not, of course, without critique and debate: Raelene Webb QC.

Keith Windschuttle and the Aboriginal sovereignty conspiracy that never was

Keith Windschuttle and the Aboriginal sovereignty conspiracy that never was

It is unsurprising that Windschuttle—as most of us do—struggles with the complexity of the Native Title Act but the least we can expect is that if he is going to throw up ideas based on the application of that Act it is not unreasonable that he exhibit at least a working comprehension of the operation of the Act and its basic concepts.

Abbott’s white paper for the black tropics: Boon or boondoggle?

Abbott’s white paper for the black tropics: Boon or boondoggle?

"Developing North Australia" is, somewhat surprisingly, a curate's--or perhaps in this case a failed seminarian's--egg. Good in parts and in small measure. But as Longfellow said, "When she was good, She was very, very good, And when she was bad she was horrid."

The Yirrkala Bark Petitions. How an old typewriter helped change the course of Australian history

The Yirrkala Bark Petitions. How an old typewriter helped change the course of Australian history

In this NAIDOC Week when the focus is on the impact of the 1963 Yirrkala Bark Petitions to the Australian Parliament, it is timely to reflect how an old typewriter helped change the course of Australian history.

Towards an (Australian) Indigenous Ornithology – Is Australia an ornithological terra nullius?

Towards an (Australian) Indigenous Ornithology – Is Australia an ornithological terra nullius?

Australia is an ornithological terra nullius - an ‘empty land' - It is unforgivable that the most complete references to Australian Aboriginal ornithology are found in John Gould's Handbook to the Birds of Australia, 1865 - published 138 years ago.