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Members of the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal Community v The State of Victoria [2002] HCA 58 (12 December 2002)

Category: Case Law
Binomial Name: High Court of Australia
Sub Category:Litigated Determination
Location:Australia
Public land and water, mainly State forests and reserves, in northern Victoria and Southern NSW, including the Murray and Goulburn Rivers, and other waterways and lakes.
Subject Matter:Native Title | Recognition of Native Title or Traditional Ownership
Summary Information:
In February 1994 the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal community applied for a determination of native title in respect of public land and water, mainly State forests and reserves, in northern Victoria and Southern New South Wales, including the Murray and Goulburn Rivers, and other waterways and lakes. The application was accepted by the Native Title Registrar in May 1994 and was subject to mediation from September 1994 until May 1995 when it was referred to the Federal Court.
In 1998, his Honour Justice Olney found that the 'tide of history' had washed away any real acknowledgement by the Yorta Yorta of their traditional laws and any real observance of their traditional customs and, therefore, that native title did not exist in relation to the area claimed. In 1999, a majority of the Full Court of the Federal Court dismissed the appeal against this decision. In 2001, the High Court gave the claimants special leave to appeal.
The High Court brought down its decision on 12 December 2002. Gleeson CJ, Gummow and Hayne JJ delivered a joint judgement in which they held that the appeal should be dismissed and that the Yorta Yorta people should pay the costs of the appeal. McHugh and Callinan JJ agreed with those orders but gave separate judgments.
What had been found was that:
- the forebears of the claimants had ceased to occupy their lands in accordance with traditional laws and customs; and
- there was no evidence that they continued to acknowledge and observe those laws and customs.
'Upon those findings, the claimants must fail'. (Members of the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal Community v The State of Victoria [2002] HCA 58, 96 (Gleeson CJ, Gummow and Hayne JJ)).

Related Entries

Agreement
  • PLEASE DELETE - HAS BEEN REPLACED WITH A005366
  • Yorta Yorta Traditional Owner Land Management Agreement
  • Organisation
  • High Court of Australia
  • Legislation
  • Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)
  • People
  • Yorta Yorta Aboriginal Community
  • Case Law
  • Bennell v State of Western Australia [2006] FCA 1243

  • References

    Case Law
    High Court of Australia (2002) Members of the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal Community v Victoria (2002) HCA 58 (12 December 2002)
    Resource
    National Native Title Tribunal (2002) 'Yorta Yorta High Court Appeal', Native Title Hot Spots

    Glossary

    Native Title (Australia) | Litigated Determination (Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)) (Australia)

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