A Sydney reserve surrounded by multi-million dollar homes in the city's exclusive north shore region has been handed back to the Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC).
The Talus Street Reserve in the suburb of Naremburn is home to a tennis club and features eight courts and a clubhouse.
The precinct also includes a creek, bushland, walking tracks, picnic tables, and parking areas.
The decision to hand back the Gammeraygal land under the New South Wales Aboriginal Lands Rights Act was made by former Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes.
Nathan Moran, CEO of the Metropolitan LALC told NITV News that the hand back represents the realisation of Aboriginal Land Rights.
"Returning crown land is recompense for loss of all freehold, leasehold and or state-owned and used land as well for not getting royalties for mining," he said.
Metro LALC Chairperson Allan Murray said the land can now be used for the social, cultural, and economic benefit of the local Aboriginal community, in turn benefiting the broader community.
“As the new owners, we look forward to moving ahead and undertaking the necessary due diligence of working with the community to understand who the stakeholders, users of the site and surrounding communities are," Mr Murray said.
Willoughby City Council previously managed and maintained the reserve, but these powers will now be transferred to the land council.
Public access to bush tracks will remain unchanged, while road access and stormwater drainage will continue to be managed by Council via an easement granted by the Land Council.
Willoughby Mayor, Tanya Taylor, described the reserve as "beautiful land" and emphasised the Council’s resounding support for the decision.
"Council acknowledges the rich Indigenous history of the Gammeraygal people in the area. The transfer will embed this significant indigenous heritage, drive cultural and social outcomes as it affirms Aboriginal Land Rights and supports reconciliation,” Mayor Taylor said.
She also expressed her commitment to a positive collaborative relationship with the Land Council to ensure a smooth transition.
The existing arrangements between the Willoughby Council and the Northern Suburbs Tennis Association remain in place and the courts will continue to be available for use until the transition is completed, which could take up to a year.