Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Major NT landmark returned to Traditional Owners

Joint Media Release with:

  • Warren Snowdon MP, Member for Lingiari

The Devil’s Marbles, one of the Northern Territory’s most recognised landmarks and a site of great spiritual significance to local Aboriginal people, was handed back to traditional owners by the Australian Government today.

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

It was achieved through the determination of traditional owner Leslie Foster and his three brothers who led the long campaign which resulted in the Devil’s Marbles Land Claim in 1997.

The Devil’s Marbles are one of two parcels of land which have been transferred. The other is the Davenport Ranges.

The transfer of the deeds of title was commemorated at a special handover ceremony at the Devil’s Marbles or Karlu Karlu as they are known locally.

The Marbles, located about 100 kilometres south of Tennant Creek, are a major attraction for tourists who travel the Stuart Highway between Tennant Creek and Alice Springs

The site covers an area of around 1,775 hectares and is shared by the Warumungu, Kaytetye, Warlpiri and Alyawarra people – representing four significant language groups. It contains important ceremony sites for all.

The Davenport Ranges, are a noted wilderness area of over 111,000 hectares, located approximately 60 kilometres east of the Marbles.

This claim is the first of a series of areas to be returned 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 Land Rights Act).

There are 13 parks and reserves to be handed back and today’s ceremony recognises the effort and determination of so many to see country returned to the traditional owners for all to share.