A culturally significant and ecologically important plot of land in North-East Tasmania has been returned to Aboriginal ownership.
The acquisition of the 195-hectare area Diana's Bay parcel of land was financed through a partnership between the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation and the Tasmanian Land Conservancy.
An event was held on Friday to celebrate the returning of country, with dozens of Fist Nations people from across the state in attendance. Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre chairperson Graeme Gardner said the custodianship of the land returning to traditional owners would enable Aboriginal people to strengthen their connection to the country.
"This whole coastal area of North-East lutruwita, from St Helens all the way to Musselroe and beyond, is the home of our Old People, our direct ancestors," he said. "We can see their lives written all over this land; we can rejoice with their amazing ability to live securely in this environment for millenia as well as weep for the tragedy that saw them exiled from the land of their birth to die in pitiful circumstances and their graves robbed for the curiosity of the invaders."
Nala Mansell from TAC said that this was an example of initiative.
"The groups involved have stepped up and shown amazing leadership due to government inaction, which is great to see," she said.
"Being here and learning the stories of our ancestors who lived near these waterways teaches us about their lifestyle and connects us to the land.
"Having the opportunity to have this land back and have a traditional Aboriginal ceremony is one of the best feelings in the world. We feel so connected to this land."
The ILSC has also granted money to TAC to enable Diana's Basin to be managed by the TAC ranger team, giving local people the opportunity to be employed on country.
Talks are under way between the groups to decide on a traditional name for the newly acquired land.
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