Carrying Land Rights into the future

South Coast Region Councillor, Jack Hampton is a Yuin man and long time member of the Nowra Local Aboriginal Land Council.

I look after thirteen land councils on the south coast from the Illawarra down to Eden and across to Queanbeyan.

I’m a Yuin man and my mob’s from down the coast but I grew up in La Perouse, which I love. It’s a great place.

Growing up, my role models were Uncle Chicka Dixon, my Uncle Guboo Ted Thomas and Uncle Merv Penrith from down at Wallaga Lake. Uncle Chicka was inspiring because he was well into the Land Rights movement, going overseas to China spreading our land rights message and sharing the way we looked at land rights here in Australia.

My involvement with the LALC network started as a member of the Jerrinja Land Council and then I moved my membership over to the Nowra LALC where I became the Secretary before the new Land Rights amendments came in, in 2007.

One of our proudest achievements was buying the land at UAM Homes at Bomaderry, which is one of our heritage listed places. It’s a great place for people to come and see. The UAM Homes site is very much a part of the Stolen Generations story. There were a lot of Aboriginal kids that were brought here and sent to school around Bomaderry and Nowra.

It’s a nice quiet place and with the memorial gardens being here, it also gives us a sense of identity. The gardens start from up at the front gate so people can walk through them to reach the memorial.

As a LALC network we are reaching out to the younger generation, to get them involved and give them a legacy to carry on as we all get older. When younger people come over I ask them whether they are members of the Land Council and if they say no, I tell them about why I want them to join so that we have something that will be carried on after we pass away.

Land rights to me is about our culture and our identity. I’d like to encourage our younger generation to come along and join the Land Council because it means they can have a say and see what it’s really like to be part of the Land Rights movement.