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The Administration Papua v Daera Guba
The Administration of Papua v Daera Guba (1972-3) 130 CLR 353, concerned disputed land in Papua New Guinea, to which two groups asserted traditional title against the colonial administration. The Administration did not dispute the existence of legitimate traditional rights to lands in the territory and indeed had purchased the disputed lands in 1886, the authority of which was also challenged. The High Court of Australia, Papua New Guinea then being a protectorate of Australia, recognised the rights of Papuans to their lands saying that 'indigenous people were secure in their usufructuary title to land' and that:
'from the inception the law applicable in the Territory by virtue of the Protectorate and the Colony, recognised a right in the Papuans to sell or surrender to Crown whatever right they had communally or individually in the land.'

Keywords: colonisation, High Court of Australia, indigenous people, International Court Case, International law, Papua New Guinea, The Administration of Papua v Daera Guba 1972-3, 1972-1973

Author: Strelein, Lisa