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Aboriginal Spirituality - After European settlement and the Westernisation of Australia the indigenous people of Australia lost and suffered greatly, especially in regards of their land and spirituality.

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Year 12 Studies of Religion- 2unit

Research Task, Aboriginal Spirituality

Elise Reed

        After European settlement and the Westernisation of Australia the indigenous people of Australia lost and suffered greatly, especially in regards of their land and spirituality. These losses are now being recognised, thus the beginning of the mass amount of Land Rights claims being lodged by the Aboriginal people to regain their land and sacred sites lost during colonisation. One such claim includes the Kenbi, Cox Peninsula, Land Claim number 37, beginning its lengthy process on 20th March 1979. The claim investigated the Aboriginal spiritual affiliation with the land, the dreaming stories associated with this area, the Western development of the area and the politics involved in the claim.

        The purpose of the inquiry was to discover the group with primary spirituality responsibility and the traditional Aboriginal owners, a group of Aboriginals who have a common spiritual affiliation with the land and are entitled, by Aboriginal tradition, rights to the land.

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        The land associated with this claim includes not only the Cox Peninsula, but also the islands around the area and the reefs (fig. 2) to the west of the Cox Peninsula (refer to figure 1, for a full map of the claim area). The area associated with the claim was the original ‘centre’ of the city of Darwin; the new Parliament House was proposed to be constructed here as well as the office of accommodation for the Northern Territory government. This process to make the small peninsula the ‘centre’ of Darwin was undermined when other areas such as Casuarina and Palmerston developed urbanely and established major shopping complexes as a result of the land claim of the Cox Peninsula. As part of the Land Rights Act, any road used by the public in the area is excluded from the Land Claim. In accordance with this regulation there are eleven roads and tracks within the

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th December 2000, the prolonged claim has been settled. The recommendation of Peter R A Grey saw the whole of the land claimed, with the exclusion of the southern-eastern part of the Cox Peninsula (fig. 3), granted for the benefit of all Aboriginal people. The Tommy Lyons group and the Larrakia group were found to be ‘traditional Aboriginal owners’ and the Tommy Lyons group were deemed to have ‘primary spiritual responsibility’ for the land. The Claim was granted as a result of the numerous dreaming stories associated with the site, Wariyn and Pederra, despite there being plans to make the Cox Peninsula area the ‘centre’ of the Darwin city. Areas such as public roads and areas that are already owned and occupied by members of the public are to remain the same and open to the public, but in cohesion with the Aboriginal people. The land claim was settled in December 2000, finally reuniting the Aboriginal people with the land of the Cox Peninsula or Kenbi.


-The Kenbi (Cox Peninsula) Land Claim No. 37

Report No. 59

Report and recommendation of the former Aboriginal Land Commissioner, Justice Grey

December 2000        

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