Territory Stories

Wave Hill handover



Wave Hill handover


Wesley-Smith, Rob; Rowlings, Bill


Territory Times Gone By; StoryNT




Wave Hill


Rob Wesley-Smith was one of the few people present with a camera to capture the key gesture of the formal hand-back of 3236 sq km of Gurindji lands in the Northern Territory to their leader, Vincent Lingiari, 38 years ago.

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StoryNT Agreement


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https://www.cla.asn.au/News/photos-of-two-giants-drinking/ [Photos of two giants, drinking]

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Rob was too busy playing providore to take these shots: it was his bottle of champagne, which he thoughtfully brought along to celebrate the historic event. I handed the bottle to Gough, who went to drink from it, but then stopped and politely handed the bottle to Vincent first. He took a modest sip, then handed it back to Gough who took a swig. Rob, noted East Timor activist and a CLA member, still lives in Darwin. In 1975, he was based there as an agricultural adviser with the NT Government, traveling thousands of kilometres to stations throughout the Territory. He attended the handover ceremony as a supporter and friend of the Gurindji in general, and personal friend of Vincent and his wife Blanche Nangi in particular. The land hand-back, a lease, was negotiated by the Australian Government with the British company, Vesteys, as the closing scene at the end of a nine-year strike. The ceremony featured in the photographs was effectively the first formal public acknowledgement of Aboriginal land rights by the Australian Government.

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