Editor’s Warning: This story contains the name of a deceased member of the Bandjalang People
The claim, instigated by the late Mr Lawrence “Uncle Lawrie” Wilson of Coraki, has been through many iterations and has included many parties including various NSW government departments and the Federal government.
At a formal Supreme Court Hearing held at the Woodburn-Evans Head RSL on 2 December 2013 Justice Jagot publicly announced the Court’s Determination before more than 200 attendees, most from the Bundjalung Nation.
Many members of the Aboriginal were overwhelmed by the announcement and the occasion; some wept while others shouted out in jubilation.
Doug Wilson, son of the late Lawrence Wilson, presented Justice Jagot with a painting to mark the occasion.
Representatives of the Aboriginal Nation and various government departments and agencies gathered for a group photo for the assembled media
The Native Title Rights Determination recognized the right of the Bandjalang People (Part of the Bundjalung Nation to hunt, fish, camp and protect cultural sites on the NSW North Coast including Evans Head. National Parks, Crown Lands and State Forests are including in the Determination.
The area covered extends from North of Grafton to Casino and to the coast at Evans Head, an area of nearly 3,000 square kilometres.
Doug Wilson noted in his declaration to the assembled crowd that he could now call Evans Head ‘Home’ following the formal Hearing.
The Determination of 2 December is a ‘red letter day’ in Aboriginal History as it brings formal recognition of ‘ownership’ of the land to the Aboriginal people of the north coast through the mechanism of various rights.