The Passing of a Wiradjuri Warrior: First native title claimant in mainland Australia
2 December 2010
The NSW Aboriginal Land Council today honours the life of Mrs Rose Chown, a fighter for Native Title and Aboriginal social justice, who passed away last week.
Mrs Chown was the founder of the Wiradjuri Wellington Town Common Group; the first Traditional Owners, all women, in mainland Australia to make a claim for Native Title of their Wellington homelands, located at the base of Mount Arthur in New South Wales.
Mrs Chown foresaw a future of dysfunction and desperation for Aboriginal youth of her region. She fought long and hard to claim native title of the area in order to ensure a future for the youth that would lead to pride in their culture, identity and connection to country.
Thirteen years of persistence, despite the convoluted process of claiming Native Title under an act riddled with never ending complexities, saw Mrs Chown and her community's rights recognised when, in 2007, she was given the title deeds to Wellington Common, her ancestral home near Macquarie River.
Yet despite the win the group were left hanging by the government, with no funds or way to develop the land. Mrs Chown again fought on relentlessly, and despite the community never receiving assistance to create the future they envisioned, she never lost hope. Her warrior ways live on in the children and youth of her beloved people who continue to dream of a better tomorrow.
"In the last 15 years that I have known Rose I grew to appreciate, love, respect and admire her for her activism and fighting tenacity for Aboriginal social justice," family spokesperson Tony Amatto said.
Land Council representative for the Sydney/Newcastle region Councillor Roy Ah-See, a relative of Mrs Chown says as a cherished elder of the community her wisdom and knowledge will be sorely missed.
"She leaves an unrelenting legacy for her people, especially our youth; she's our equivalent to Mabo, to Perkins, to the Pattens and the Dixons," he said.
Rest In Peace Mrs Rose Chown.
2.30pm Friday 3 December 2010
Wellington Catholic Church