20-years in the making, the Gascoyne’s Malgana people celebrate native title

Image of Malgana country in WA's Gascoyne region.

The Malgana people have been granted native title over about 28,800 square kilometres of land and waters around the World Heritage listed Shark Bay in Western Australia’s Gascoyne.

The native title determination was handed down by Federal Court judge Bernard Murphy last Tuesday (Dec 4).

It came after a 20-year court bid by the Malgana people for native title rights over the land and waters which includes much of Shark Bay, the Shark Bay Marine Park, Dirk Hartog Island National Park, Edel Land Peninsula and Steep Point, the town of Denham, Peron Peninsula and some pastoral leases.

The determination gives the Malgana exclusive rights to occupy and enjoy some sections of the land, including the right to hunt and fish.

They also have non-exclusive rights to camp, erect shelters and other structures, to hunt and fish and to travel over and visit any part of the determination area.

The Malgana first lodged an application for native title on March 30, 1998.

Last week’s decision came after the Malgana and WA government reached agreement over the area to be covered.

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