Yawuru Native Title Determinations

Timeline for Rubibi (Yawuru) native title determinations

Rubibi determination Merkel and kids

Federal Court Justice Ronald Merkel with Yawuru children after he made the native title determination at a Federal Court sitting in Broome in April 2006.

  • 1994 First native title claim lodged with the National Native Title Tribunal on behalf of Yawuru people
  • 1998  The Rubibi claimants and a claim lodged by Leregon over Kunin lawground sit down to try and come to agreement about native title.
  • 1999 8 different claims combined in to a single application
  • 2001 The Federal Court makes a decision that recognises native title over Kunin lawground.(Rubibi Community v Western Australia 114 FCR 523) It was hoped that the State would accept this determination as proof for the larger claim and that the final outcome for the larger claim could be by agreement.
  • 2002 Mediation between the parties to reach an agreement.
  • 2004 The larger native title claim (2,934 kilometres squared) is advertised, so that any person who may have an interest is notified and can respond.
  • 2005 Mediation ends and the claim is brought back to the Court for the judge to make a decision.
  • 2006 On 28 April Justice Merkel from the Federal Court makes his decision. The judge decides that Yawuru have maintained their law and customs from the time of Bugarrigarra and that the common law of Australia now recognises these rights. (Rubibi Community v Western Australia (No 6))
  • 2008 appeal by State of Western Australia to the Full Court of the Federal Court against the determination. (Western Australia v Sebastian FCAFC 65)  Yawuru native title holders choose the Yawuru Native Title Holders Aboriginal Corporation to be the corporation that holds the native title rights on trust for them.