• Wajarri Yamatji native title holders celebrate their native title determination with Justice Griffiths. (YMAC)
It's the second native title determination for the Wajarri Yamatji community in WA, and covers Australia's largest and deepest underground ochre mine.
By
Rangi Hirini

24 Apr 2018 - 3:21 PM  UPDATED 24 Apr 2018 - 3:23 PM

The Wajarri Yamatji people are celebrating after winning their native title determination in Western Australia.

The Part B native title determination for the Wajarri Yamatji community in WA covers an area of 12,252 sq km. It was decided by the federal court on Monday.

It is the second victory for the native title holders, after Part A Determination in October 2017 awarded title over 68,743 sq km.

The new area covers unallocated crown land, Aboriginal-held pastoral leases, and the Aboriginal communities of Burringurrah, Pia Wadjari and Buttah Windee.

It includes Wilgie Mia, the largest and deepest underground ochre mine in Australia and an important dreaming site.

It also recognised exclusive possession native title over an area of about 9100 sq km.

“This native title determination is an important day for the Wajarri people. It recognises our rights (including our exclusive rights) in our barna (Country) that has existed since long before European colonisation,” the Wajarri Yamatji Working Group said in a statement.

“We have always known where we come from, but this determination means that our connection to our land is recognised under Australian law.

"On this day, we’d like to pay our respects to Wajarri elders past and present for their tireless work in achieving this native title determination.” 

Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation CEO, Simon Hawkins said it has been a long journey for everyone involved.

“I congratulate the Wajarri people on successfully securing further recognition of their traditional rights and interests after two decades of perseverance and commitment.” 

The native title claim was registered in December 2005.

With AAP

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