Property donated by family of John Clarke embroiled in Victorian First Nations dispute

1 month ago 15

A spot donated by the household of renowned satirist and comedian John Clarke has go embroiled successful a long-running quality betwixt 2 First Nations groups successful Victoria.

The onshore connected Phillip Island, astir 120km south-east of Melbourne, was donated by Clarke’s widow, Helen McDonald, to conservation radical Trust for Nature aft his decease successful 2017.

Trust for Nature intends to transportation the eight-hectare spot to the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, nevertheless a section accepted proprietor has demanded that beryllium halted.

While the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation is the registered section Aboriginal party, the country involves onshore connected which members of the Boonwurrung radical is seeking autochthonal rubric via the national court.

Boonwurrung elder Carolyn Briggs said Trust for Nature had made nary effort to consult with her radical astir the handover.

“Once again we person been ignored and decisions made for america by non-Indigenous people,” she told Guardian Australia.

Briggs argued the Trust for Nature should postpone the onshore transportation to let the ineligible process to tally its course.

Gayle Austen, the seat of Trust for Nature, said it was continuing negotiations with the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation regarding the Phillip Island property.

“This does not successful immoderate mode impact the autochthonal rubric assertion that the Boon Wurrung Foundation are pursuing, and which doesn’t use to privately owned property,” she said.

“Trust for Nature continues to enactment with each accepted proprietor groups crossed Victoria connected a scope of projects and Caring for Country initiatives. We person expressed our tendency to link with the Boon Wurrung Foundation and research opportunities with them into the future.”

Comedian and satirist John Clarke
John Clarke’s widow Helen McDonald donated onshore to Trust for Nature which it plans to transportation to the Bunurong Land Council. Photograph: ABC/AAP

The statement includes 12 months entree and managed rights followed by a rubric transportation adjacent year.

The seat of the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation committee of directors, Kelly Lehmann, said the transportation was an “amazing opportunity” for Bunurong people.

“Through this onshore we tin further enactment our aboriginal generations successful learning civilization and Caring for Country,” she said successful a statement.

The autochthonal rubric lawyer James Fitzgerald said the quality highlighted “the challenges faced erstwhile you effort to unscramble the eggs of colonialism 200 years aft the event”.

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According to the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council, the lone known Boon Wurrung (Bunurong) apical ancestors with surviving descendents are believed to beryllium women who were abducted by sealers successful the aboriginal 18th century. The assembly said owed to this disruption, the humanities grounds linking existent time radical with Boon Wurrung – besides known arsenic Bunurong – ancestors is successful immoderate places incomplete oregon contradictory.

The Boonwurrung Land and Sea Council has agelong argued that it is not represented by the Bunurong Land Council, which it has antecedently claimed was mostly made up of interstate members.

The Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council – a nationalist assemblage made up of the 11 accepted owners appointed by the authorities authorities – has antecedently rejected the Boonwurrung Land and Sea Council’s exertion to beryllium listed arsenic a registered Aboriginal party. Registered Aboriginal parties are accepted proprietor groups that are legally recognised nether the state’s Aboriginal Heritage Act and person work for managing and protecting Aboriginal taste practice relating to Country.

Under the state’s Traditional Owner Settlement Act, accepted owners are besides recognised extracurricular the national autochthonal rubric scheme.

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Photograph: Tim Robberts/Stone RF

Briggs has antecedently criticised the Aboriginal Heritage Council for recognising the Bunurong Land Council arsenic representatives of the Boonwurrung people.

But successful 2019 the state’s ultimate tribunal upheld the council’s determination to assistance the Bunurong Land Council the presumption of a registered Aboriginal party.

The Boonwurrung radical is pursuing a autochthonal rubric assertion covering astir 13,000 sq km implicit ample swathes of Melbourne and Gippsland.

The Bunurong Land Council did not respond to questions astir the quality erstwhile contacted by Guardian Australia.

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