22 March, 2016
Barooga Karrai back in the hands of its rightful owners
As part of a new policy to build closer ties to the Land Rights network, Chair Roy Ah-See has taken the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) to Wiradjuri country, hosting a Board meeting in West Wyalong and handing back a rural property to its rightful owners.
Cr Ah-See said holding more meetings outside Parramatta allows community members to raise concerns directly with councillors and brings NSWALC closer to the Land Rights network.
West Wyalong Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) hosted the historic Council meeting which was followed by the hand back of the 10,626 hectare Barooga Karrai property to Murrin Bridge LALC.
The Wiradjuri Regional Aboriginal Land Council bought Barooga Karrai in 1986 in recognition of its cultural significance to the Wiradjuri people.
But after the Wiradjuri Regional Aboriginal Land Council was abolished by the Greiner Government, ownership of Barooga Karrai was transferred to NSWALC.
In recent times, NSWALC has taken the decision to return a number of properties, including Barooga Karrai, to Local Aboriginal Land Councils.
This is another example of the Council’s commitment to support mob through healing processes such as the return of land to our communities.
In perfect weather, about 100 people celebrated the return of the property at a ceremony on site at Barooga Karrai, near Euabalong.
NSWALC Councillor Wiradjuri Region Craig Cromelin said the hand back ceremony was a great day for Land Rights.
“The fact they’ve got it in their hands and can make their decisions and not someone else from Parramatta or Macquarie Street means the power’s back in the rightful hands and that’s the local people.
“That’s the power of Land Rights, very powerful. And it’s a wonderful day not just for the people of Murrin Bridge LALC but for Land Rights,” Cr Cromelin said.
Murrin Bridge LALC Chair Vicki Bell said it was an emotional day for members.
“The return of Barooga Karrai has been a long time coming – more than 20 years since it was first taken from us.
“We want to push forward with the property to make it socially, culturally and economically viable and utilise community programs such as a youth engagement program with cultural camps so we can address issues in communities like drug and alcohol and keeping children at school,” she said.