The Australian colonies were acquired by Britain on the grounds they were terra nullius; under that part of International Law relating to sovereignty and the authority to govern new territories. This acquisition was then recognised by other European powers.
As a 'settled colony', New South Wales adopted the laws of England right from the outset. Among those laws was the doctrine of tenures, under which land title was recognised only if it could be based on a grant from the Crown.
So who then, owned the land? Aboriginal people had one answer; but Australian courts had another. It was the Crown.
In several court decisions during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, judges declared that when Britain acquired sovereignty over Australia, the Crown also acquired ownership of the land. None of these cases involved Aboriginal people, or raised the issue of the possible survival of native title.
aborigines, Blackburn, Justice, Gove, Gove Case, Gove Peninsula, McIntyre, Greg, Nabalco, Yirrkala
A Humanitarian Tradition
Australia, colonialism, Cook, Captain James, First Fleet, humanitarians, land rights, terra nullius
Charity & Sovereignty
aborigines, Australia, land ownership, New South Wales, Queen Victoria, reserves, sovereignty
Pastoral Interest & Public Interest
coexistence, Grey, Earl, native title, New South Wales, pastoral industry, pastoral lease, Wik
Australia, colonial warfare, colonialism, colonists, genocide, land rights, martial law, massacres, Tasmania, war, Warlpiri
colonisation, crown land, doctrine of tenure, First Fleet, New South Wales, sovereignty, terra nullius
Murray Island Annexation
annexation, colonisation, conquest, International law, Mabo Case, Mer, Murray Island, Queensland, terra nullius
fishing, Great Barrier Reef, Meriam culture, sea rights, seafarers, Torres Strait
Crown Land Continued
Attorney-General (NSW) v Brown, 1847 , Australian Court Case, Blackburn, Justice, colonialism, crown land, doctrine of tenure, Gove Case, land ownership, Milirrpum v Nabalco Pty Ltd, 1971 , Northern Territory, NSW v The Commonwealth, 1975, property law, Randwick Corporation v Rutledge, 1959 , Supreme Court of NSW, Supreme Court of the Northern Territory
Rations & Reserves
humanitarians, land rights, missionaries, missions, reserves
The Doctrine Of Tenures Reconsidered
crown land, doctrine of tenure, land rights, Mabo judgement
The Gove Case
Arnhem Land, Australian Court Case, bark petition, Blackburn, Justice, Gove, Gove Case, land rights, Marika, Roy, Milirrpum v Nabalco Pty Ltd, 1971 , mining, Nabalco, Northern Territory, Yirrkala
Charity Or Compensation
humanitarians, land rights, reserves