Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Githabul People achieve Native title deal

A major native title deal has been agreed by the NSW Government giving the Githabul people joint control of 19 national parks and state forests in Northern New England.

This forms part of the biggest native title settlement struck on the eastern seaboard in terms of area and includes many picturesque NSW parks and the World-Heritage listed Border Ranges and Toonumbar national parks.

The Githabul's traditional territory covers more than 6,000 square km straddling the New England and Queensland borders around Mt Lindsay. The Queensland Government has opposed the claim and is not covered by the agreement.

I had some difficulty in working out the Githabul's exact territory simply because the on-line records are variable with multiple spellings for same language groups. AITSIS (IdE.14) records the language as Gidabal with the following alternative spellings: a-bool Giabal Gidabul Gidjoobal Gitabal Gomaingguru Kidabal Kidjabal Kit Kitabal Kitabool Kitapul Kitchebal Kittabool Kuttabal Kuttibal Kuttibul Noowidal Paiamba Kitabul Kuthabal.

I also have a problem because I am not sure of the relationships/territory/overlaps between the Githabul, Badjalang (AITSIS Id.E12: I have always said Bandjalong) and Gumbainggirr AITSIS Id.E07). As best I can work out:

  • The Badjalang are recorded at the following localities: Ballina; Baryugil; Clarence River; Coraki; Moonim; Rappville; Richmond River; Tabulam; Evans Head.
  • The Githabul are recorded at the following locations: Clarence River; Drake; Killarney; Logan River; Rathdowney; Richmond River; Spicer Gap; Tabulam; Tooloom; Unumgar; Urbenville; Woodenbong.
  • The Gumbainggirr lie to the south of the Badjalang and are recorded at the following locations: Bellingen; Coff Harbour; Glenreagh; Nambucca Heads; Nymboida River; One Tree Point; South Grafton; Urunga; Woolgoola.

I will provide more on this story once I get more details.

2 comments:

Neil said...

Malcolm's friend "Artist Andy", as I call him on my site, is a Badjalang, and he says Bandjalung! He's doing very well with his art too; Luciano Pavarotti has one of his paintings, but I am afraid I constantly forget Andy's rather German-sounding surname! He's up with his people right now in fact. When he gets back I'll ask him...

Seems the spelling varies a lot. This site on bora rings in New`England may interest you.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, Neil. The bora ring site was interesting.

It would be very helpful if you could ask Andy.

By way of additional background, based on the ethnographic work I did all those years ago, the biggest aboriginal populations in what is now NSW were in New England's coastal strip and in the Murray-Darling basin. This reflected the relative availability of food resources.

The size of the aboriginal population helps explain why the North Coast is different in that language and tribal groupings survived in a way that did not happen in many other parts of the country.

If I am to write a comprehensive account of the New England experience over time including today, I have to trace through the aboriginal experience. I think that there are some interesting stories here, but I lack the on-ground contacts to write about it in the type of comprehensive way that I would like.