Update on Angepena Station

On 24 July 2008 Adnyamathanha traditional owners and not-for-profit group Operation Flinders reached an agreement over the sale and use of Angepena Station in South Australia's Flinders Ranges.

Operation Flinders is a not for profit organisation that runs camps for young people in the Flinders Ranges. Adnyamathanha people have worked with Operation Flinders since its inception. However about 12 months ago Operation Flinders sought to buy Angepena a property in the Flinders Ranges, in the heart of Adnyamathanha traditional land.

There were significant concerns from the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA) at the planned sale because the pastoral lease contains numerous sacred sites and objects of traditional significance to Adnyamathanha people. Adnyamathanha people have a strong spiritual connection to this property.

The State and Commonwealth Governments facilitated private mediation between all parties - ATLA, Operation Flinders and the pastoralist Mr Syd Nicholls.

A resolution was reached under which :

  • About 10% of the pastoral lease will be excluded from the sale and granted in freehold title to ATLA

  • The rest of Angepena Station will be purchased by a new company jointly owned by ATLA and Operation Flinders

  • Operation Flinders is guaranteed the right to operate its programs at the Station

  • The current pastoralist Mr Nicholls will continue to live at the property

  • Operation Flinders will initiate action to have two ATLA nominated, Adnyamathanha people appointed to the Board of Operation Flinders

An Aboriginal heritage survey will be done as part of the agreement and Angepena Station will be included in the Commonwealth's National Reserve System. These steps will preserve the cultural and natural heritage of the station.

The agreement also provides for an Adnyamathanha cultural centre to be built.

I believe this agreement enables us to participate in decision making in Operation Flinders, to ensure the camps are run in a culturally appropriate way, whilst at the same time ensuring our sacred sites are protected.

This has been the issue for Adnyamathanha people from the start and now we have reached an agreement that protects our sites and our religious places my people are pleased.

Under the agreement the Commonwealth and State Governments will provide financial support for joint management, heritage protection and employment initiatives at Angepena Station.

The Adnyamathanha people recently voted overwhelmingly to approve the agreement and have given this process their full support. They have completed an initial heritage survey, under very difficult circumstances and time restraints, to ensure the September camp could occur in a culturally appropriate way.

However, just recently Operation Flinders have raised concerns about the management of Aboriginal heritage issues and ATLA have agreed to go back to mediation to allow Operation Flinders to raise these issues.

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