ALP Goat Island Pledge

17 February, 2015

The NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley has pledged to return Me-Mel, also known as Goat Island, to Aboriginal people if Labor wins the State Election in March.

The news was welcomed by the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) which says the election promise underlines the need for a bipartisan approach to Aboriginal Land Rights.

Goat Island is a rocky island in Sydney Harbour close to the suburbs of Balmain and Millers Point.  It was used as a sandstone quarry in 1831 and over the years it’s had several uses.

Significantly, as documented by Captain David Collins, the land once belonged to Bennelong who was often seen there with his wife Barrangaroo.

Today Goat Island, the traditional lands of the Wangal people, is part of Sydney Harbour National Park.

Deputy Chairperson of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC), Yvonne Weldon, says she could feel the nature of the forefather’s spirit at the announcement on January 26.

She says if the promise is honoured, it’s an opportunity for Aboriginal people to feel proud that there’s true recognition of Aboriginal ownership.

Goat Island, as Crown Land, would be transferred to NSWALC which would then work with NSW Labor, Metro LALC and Tribal Warrior Association to jointly manage the land.

NSWALC Deputy Chairman Roy Ah-See said the announcement recognises the central role of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 in returning culturally significant and economically viable land to Aboriginal people.

Ms Weldon says Metro LALC is trying to progress and focus on enterprise and sustainable opportunities.  She says if Goat Island was returned they would look at tourism but more importantly, healing camps for Elders and young people.

NSWALC’s Election Policy Platform seeks that an incoming NSW Government reaffirms its commitment to Aboriginal Land Rights and works in cooperation with NSWALC to ensure the intent of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act is realised.


We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the lands where we work as well as across the lands we travel through. We also acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging.

Artwork Credit: Craig Cromelin, from a painting he did titled, "4 favourite fishing holes". It is a snippet of his growing years on the Lachlan River, featuring yabby, turtle, fish and family.