Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council (Awabakal LALC) is an Aboriginal organisation regulated under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983. The ALRA is established to provide land rights for Aboriginal people, provide for representative Aboriginal Land Councils, to vest land in those Councils, provide for the acquisition of land, and the management of land and other assets and investments and to provide for the provision of community benefit schemes.
About our LALC
What We Are About
While the board members manage the Corporation, the Elders are paramount in guiding the Awabakal Nation. Their wisdom and understanding is highly respected by all members of our Nation.
The objectives of the Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council are to improve, protect and foster the best interests of all Aboriginal persons.
Awabakal People & Their Land
The Awabakal people , a group of indigenous people of New South Wales, are those Aboriginal Australians who identify with or are descended from the Awabakal tribe and its clans scattered along the coastal area of what is now known as the Mid North Coast region of New South Wales. Their traditional territory spread from Wollombi in the south, to the Lower Hunter River near Newcastle and Lake Macquarie in the north.
In the Awabakal language, awaba was the word for Lake Macquarie, meaning flat or plain surface, and by extension referred to the people native to that area. The Awabakal were bounded to the north–west by the Wonnarua, the Worimi to the north–east, and the Darkinjung peoples to the west and south. Awaba is now the name of a small town in the region.
Awabakal belongs to the larger Awabagal/Gadjang subgroup, also called Worimi of the Pama-Nyungan languages According to Robert M. W. Dixon, it had two dialects, each spoken by the contiguous Wonnarua and Cameeragal. Attempts are now underway to revive the language by people of a variety of Aboriginal origins who identify it with the landscape where they now live.
Tindale estimated Awabakal territory to cover some 700 square miles (1,800 km2).
The eaglehawk or wedge-tailed eagle has special significance for the Awabakal people. Kon, their “celestial entity”, looks like an Aboriginal man, but in flight resembles an eagle-hawk.
The Awabakal people played a significant part in shaping the environment of their region. They practised fire-stick farming extensively, which helped them to hunt and to navigate through dense prickly scrub along the coast.Newcastle’s main city thoroughfare, Watt Street, was built over an Awabakal path from the shore to the top of a hill. Fishing, particularly for shellfish, was a significant part of the Awabakal people’s diet and culture pre-colonisation.
The Awabakal, in pre-colonisation times, were noted as being strong and determined defenders of their territory, the means by which the defence occurred need to be explored to deepen understanding of the culture. They had possession of their rich coastal territory for thousands of years, during which time they successfully repelled incursions by the neighbouring Gamilaraay people and established places of defence, “virtual armouries”, high in the Watagan Mountains.
Source – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Awabakal
PROTECTION OF CULTURE
Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council (ALALC) has a long standing commitment to fostering the best interest/s of Aboriginal Culture & Heritage within its boundaries.
Under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (ALRA 83), Awabakal LALC has particular statutory obligations in relation to “Protecting and Conserving” Aboriginal Culture & Heritage. (Awabakal LALC is the only Aboriginal organisation in Newcastle who has a statutory role to protect and conserve Aboriginal Culture & Heritage).
Section 52.4 of the ALRA 83, advises the following;
A Local Aboriginal Land Council has the following functions in relation to Aboriginal culture and heritage:
(a) to take action to protect the culture and heritage of Aboriginal persons in the Council’s area, subject to any other law,
(b) to promote awareness in the community of the culture and heritage of Aboriginal persons in the Council’s area.
Role and responsibilities;
Please see below some of Awabakal LALC’s Culture & Heritage role and responsibilities;
- Archaeological Excavations (Test pitting and salvage works/investigations)
- Recording Aboriginal Sites
- Provide Cultural information to consultants/archaeologists/proponents
- Provide recommendations on reporting requirements
- Perform Monitoring works
- Conduct Due Diligence site assessments/surveys
- Monitor existing Sites
- Conduct Traditional Smoking Ceremonies
- Perform “Acknowledgements to Country”
- Provide – Aboriginal Culture Education ‘Walks and Talks” with school students/Groups
- Make complaints to the Office of Environment & Heritage, Environmental line
- Provide information for interpretive signage in housing developments
- Assist in land management issues; and
- Assist crown land claims as required from time to time.
Awabakal LALC networks with the following organisations for positive outcomes for Aboriginal Culture & Heritage in Newcastle;
- National Parks and Wildlife,
- Newcastle City Council,
- Lake Macquarie City Council,
- Local Land Services,
- local schools and
- Archaeology companies just to name a few.
Current Major ACH works within ALALC’s boundaries;
- The Light Rail Project
- Former Empire Hotel
- Newcastle East End
- Sanctuary Estate
- Shortland Waters Golf Course
Care and Control of objects of Cultural significance
Awabakal LALC also has a number of “Care & Control” agreements in place with the Office of Environment & Heritage (OEH) with regard to housing objects of cultural significance within our current “Keeping Place”.
The Aboriginal flag was designed by Harold Thomas, a Luritja man from Central Australia. It was created as a symbol of unity and national identity for Aboriginal people during the land rights movement of the early 1970s. Gary Foley took the flag to the East Coast where it was promoted and eventually recognised as the official flag of the Australian Aboriginal people. The flag was first flown at Victoria Square in Adelaide on National Aborigines Day, 12 July 1971. The flag was chosen as the official flag for the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and was first flown there in 1972. In 1995, the Australian Government proclaimed the flag as an official ‘Flag of Australia’ under section 5 of the Flags Act 1953. In 1997, Harold Thomas was recognised as the author of the artistic work under the Copyright Act 1968.
The symbolic meaning of the flag colours (as stated by Mr Harold Thomas) are:
Black: Represents the Aboriginal people of Australia
Red: Represents the red earth, the red ochre and a spiritual relation to the land
Yellow: Represents the Sun, the giver of life and protector
Harold Thomas was born in Alice Springs; his mother a Luritja woman and his father a Wombai man. He was sent to St Francis’ Anglican boys home in Adelaide and in 1965 won a scholarship to the South Australian School of Art, becoming the first Aboriginal to graduate from an Australian Art School. He also has an Honorary Degree in Social Anthropology from Adelaide University. In 1970 he started working as a survey artist at the South Australian Museum, where he designed the flag. Since then, Harold has continued to work as an artist, with his works on display in several Australian galleries.
In 1997, the Federal Court of Australia officially recognised Harold Thomas as the author of the flag. This protects the flag under the Copyright Act 1968 and so it may be only reproduced in accordance with this legislation or with the permission of Mr Thomas. For guidance about using the Aboriginal flag, its colours, or the Torres Strait Islander Flag refer to the Commonwealth Flag Officer (phone 02 6271 5629 or 02 6271 5111) at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. The copyright license for the manufacture and marketing of the Aboriginal flag has been awarded by Mr Thomas to Carroll and Richardson Flags. Flags that do not have a white header at the left side, or flags that do not show the Carroll and Richardson label could be infringing the copyright owned by Mr Harold Thomas.