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The limitations of Australia's land rights legislation were most dramatically demonstrated in outback Western Australia.

A pastoral lease was purchased by the Commonwealth for local Aboriginal people at Noonkanbah, in the state's north west. However they were surprised to find that 497 mining leases, and an oil exploration permit, had already been granted on their land.

They appealed to the Broome Magistrate, who ruled that the state Mining Act must be upheld.

Unhappy with this outcome, the Noonkanbah people locked the gate to their property in June 1979, citing their rights under Western Australia's Aboriginal Heritage Act.

Confrontation over the lock out of a mining rig produced national publicity and embarrassment for the Fraser government.
Crown Land
colonisation, doctrine of tenure, indigenous Australians, International law, native title, New South Wales, sovereignty, terra nullius
Native Title & Statutory Land Rights
High Court judgement, land rights, Mabo judgement, native title
Northern Territory Land Rights Act
Aboriginal Land Rights Act (Northern Territory)(1976), Australian Labor Party, Fraser, Malcolm, land rights, Northern Territory, Whitlam, Gough
Noonkanbah, a History
activism, activism, Court, Sir Charles, Fitzroy Crossing, Fraser, Malcolm, Kimberleys, mining, Noonkanbah, resistance, unionism, Western Australia
Land Rights Stalled
land rights, Mabo judgement
colonisation, dispossession
WA Dept of Mines & AMEX meet with Aborigines
Jun, 15, 1979
industry, mining