THIS 10TH SEPTEMBER, JAWOYN PEOPLE CELEBRATE A MILESTONE IN THEIR MODERN HISTORY - 30 YEARS SINCE THEY REGAINED TRADITIONAL OWNERSHIP OF NITMILUK
The anniversary of the handback of Nitmiluk and Jawoyn’s partnership with the Northern Territory Government offers a significant occasion for the broader community to reflect on the successes of collaboration and reconciliation.
Nitmiluk National Park’s natural and cultural wonders make it a shining jewel in the crown of the Northern Territory and a source of great pride for the Katherine region.
Successful joint management has grown the park and tourism. More than 270,000 people now visit Nitmiluk every year. Home to the Jawoyn people for millennia, it’s a place that is shared for everyone to enjoy.
In this spirit, groups and organisations from across the Katherine region have united to grow the 30th anniversary celebrations and create a festival that celebrates Nitmiluk, the wider Katherine region and community.
We invite you to join us as we celebrate Nitmiluk with this special festival
Mam-gun Mungguy-wun lerr-nyarrang Nitmiluk – Sharing our country Nitmiluk – these were the words we danced under on the day Jawoyn people were officially recognised as the traditional owners of Nitmiluk and the surrounding area.
The day of the handback was one of much celebration, and 30 years on we have so much to continue to celebrate.
Despite early fears Jawoyn people would ‘take the gorge away’, it was always our intention to share our country. As elder Ray Fordimail said at the handback, ‘I don’t know where we were supposed to take it’. Nitmiluk was always here and always will be.
Over the decades since handback, we have worked with governments, organisations, community groups and individuals to grow and share our country and understanding of our culture and community. We have grown a thriving tourism industry and our rangers help manage country.
Nitmiluk is the place that has ultimately brought the community together, it is a place we in Katherine, the Northern Territory and Australia can all celebrate, and that’s what this festival is all about – place, people and community.
Thank-you Jawoyn people for sharing your amazing culture and spectacular lands.
The Territory Labor Government is proud to partner with you in managing Nitmiluk National Park, now one of the Territory’s top tourist destinations.
People from around the world come to the park every year to learn about Jawoyn culture and enjoy 13 majestic sandstone gorges and landscapes.
Tourism is a key economic driver in the Katherine region and we’re investing $10 million in the park to refresh visitor experiences, develop new ones and expand tourism infrastructure, complementing our earlier $5.5 million stimulus package that will create jobs and boost the local economy.
Recent upgrades to crossovers in the first and second gorges, upgrading of the Nitmiluk Centre, a new jetty and new mountain bike trails will make the park an even more exciting place to visit.
The Jawoyn’s sharing of their country since it was handed back to them in 1989 is an outstanding example of local people managing their lands and protecting their culture in a way that will benefit generations to come.
We are delighted to be part of the Nitmiluk Festival celebrating 30 years of sharing.
In an effort to reduce single-use plastic, the festival encourages:
- Use of reusable drink bottles and cups
- No plastic straws
- No disposable cutlery
- No excessive food packaging
- Use of dilly bags instead of plastic bags