Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Central Australian landmarks handed back to traditional owners

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Warren Snowdon MP Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health and Regional Services Delivery - Member for Lingiari

An important cultural site for the Arrernte people and a geographical landmark that was a beacon for early explorers is among six parcels of land handed back to traditional owners by the Australian Government today.

Chamber’s Pillar Historical Reserve is approximately 250 kilometres south of Alice Springs and is home to Chamber’s Pillar, a unique sandstone rock formation.

The Arrernte people believe the pillar is the fierce knob-tailed gecko man or Iterrkewarre, a key character in their creation story or Dreaming who travelled the landscape of Central Australia.

For the early explorers and pioneers, the pillar was a geographical landmark and navigational aid and many carved their names and initials into the soft sandstone leaving an indelible record of their journey through Central Australia.

The deeds for the Chamber’s Pillar Historical Reserve, along with the deeds for the Arltunga Historical Reserve, Corroboree Rock Conservation Park, Ewaninga Rock Carvings Conservation Reserve, N’Dhala Gorge Nature Park and Trephina Gorge Nature Park were today handed back to traditional owners at a ceremony at the Old Telegraph Station in Alice Springs.

Today’s handover was an historic day for traditional owners.

This is the second round of titles to be granted to traditional owners as part of the Northern Territory Government’s hand back of park land under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976.

The first claims to be returned were the deeds for the Devils Marbles and the Davenport Ranges handed over in October 2008.