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Dispute over native title rights ahead of ruling

Tuesday, 17th February, 2015

Gerald Quayle, pictured outside his home yesterday, has defended a Barkindji native title claim. Gerald Quayle, pictured outside his home yesterday, has defended a Barkindji native title claim.

By Erica Visser

An outstanding native title claim over parts of far western NSW was a “recipe for tribal war”, according to a respected Aboriginal elder.

Dr Beryl Carmichael, an elder of the Ngiyampaa people, said that the Barkindji people heading the 1997 claim had “no right”.

Dr Carmichael said the external borders within the claim impinged on her own people’s land.

She plans to meet with the Ngiyampaa people to discuss their position ahead of an expected federal court ruling in June.

“I’m calling together the traditional custodians. We’re going to have a meeting to renounce the whole claim,” Dr Carmichael said.

“I’m very concerned about the attitude of these people. There’s never been any consultation.

“I’m one of the custodians of this country. I’m the last traditional storyteller and I know where all my people were born.

“Our land covers from the Barrier Ranges back of Broken Hill, right over to the Lachlan and Bogan rivers and below the Queensland border around Tibooburra.”

Dr Carmichael accused the group involved with the claim of having motives other than the recognition of their rightful land.

“There’s too much greed now. This great big claim that stretches across two to three countries is all about money.

“These people come from Queensland and they have taken on the Barkindji name in the seventies.

“We just want recognition over sovereign borders and to all live peacefully, with the graziers.”

But Gerald Quayle, whose family is involved in the Barkindji land claim, said he was offended by the notion.

“If Beryl would like to sit down with me and come up with documented evidence about where her grandmother comes from, then I would look at that,” Mr Quayle said.

“It’s unfortunate that Beryl doesn’t know exactly where her country starts and ends.

“She might’ve been born on the Menindee Mission but that’s not to say her ancestors come from there.”

He also rejected claims about the Barkindji people made by Dr Carmichael.

“The Barkindji name was always around, for over 40,000 plus years,” Mr Quayle said.

“The name became public when the Barkindji Corporation was set up in Wilcannia in the seventies to build brick homes for people that were living in tents in the Mallee after their move from the river because of the 1976 flood.

“So to assume that the Barkindji name was taken up in the seventies is ridiculous, and hypocritical.

“I also refute the claims that Barkindji come from Queensland, and I also refute that the Ngiyampaa country goes anywhere near the Darling River.”

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