Yorta Yorta

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"Bangerang" redirects here. It is not to be confused with Bangarang.
This article is for the Indigenous Australian group. For their language, see Yorta Yorta language.
Map of Victorian Aborigines language territories

The Yorta Yorta people are the Indigenous Australians who traditionally lived around the junction of the Goulburn and Murray Rivers in present-day northeast Victoria.

Yorta Yorta Family Groups include the Bangerang, Kailtheban, Wollithiga, Moira, Ulupna, Kwat Kwat, Yalaba Yalaba and Nguaria-iiliam-wurrung clans.[1]

The language is referred to generally as the Yorta Yorta language.

History[edit]

Native title claim[edit]

In a Native title claim submitted in 1995 by the Yorta Yorta people it was determined by Justice Olney in 1998 that the ‘tide of history’ had ‘washed away’ any real acknowledgement of traditional laws and any real observance of traditional customs by the applicants.[2] An appeal was made to the full bench of the Federal Court on the grounds that "the trial judge erroneously adopted a ‘frozen in time’ approach" and "failed to give sufficient recognition to the capacity of traditional laws and customs to adapt to changed circumstances". The Appeal was dismissed in a majority 2 to 1 decision.[3] The case was taken on appeal to the High Court of Australia but also dismissed in a 5 to 2 majority ruling in December 2002.[4][5]

In consequence of the failed native title claim, in May 2004 the Victorian State Government led by Premier Steve Bracks signed an historic co-operative management agreement with the Yorta Yorta people covering public land, rivers and lakes in north-central Victoria. The agreement gives the Yorta Yorta people a say in the management of traditional country including the Barmah State Park, Barmah State Forest, Kow Swamp and public land along the Murray and Goulburn rivers. Ultimate decision making responsibility was retained by the Environment Minister[6]

Prominent people[edit]

Adam Briggs, hip-hop artist

William Cooper (1861–1941) – helped establish the Australian Aborigines' League in 1935. He led the first Aboriginal deputation to a Commonwealth minister, and another to protest the treatment of German Jews in 1938. His daughter, Amy Charles, was the matron of the first Aboriginal hostel established in Melbourne. In August 2010, the Yad VaShem Holocaust museum in Israel announced they would honor William for his protests on behalf of Jews after Kristallnacht. Yad Vashem plans to endow a small garden at its entrance in Cooper's honor. Cooper's name was submitted for recognition when it was discovered that Cooper's rally was the 1938 Only known private protest against Kristallnacht: Australian Aborigines League, led by William Cooper [7]

Jimmy Little (OAM) (1937–2012) – was a musician whose career has spanned over six decades. First song written and recorded by Indigenous Australians in 1958: "Give the Coloured Boy a Chance" (written by Jimmy Little, Snr and recorded by Jimmy Little). First Indigenous Australian entertainer to appear on television: Jimmy Little In 1999, ARIA inducted Little into its Hall of Fame.

Sir Douglas Nicholls (1906–1988) – was a professional athlete, pastor with the Churches of Christ, pioneering campaigner for Aboriginal reconciliation, the first Aboriginal person to be knighted, and the 1976 First Indigenous Australian to hold vice-regal office (Governor of South Australia): Sir Douglas Nicholls , serving as Governor of South Australia 1976–77. 1935 First Indigenous Australian to be selected in the Victorian interstate Australian rules team.

Burnum Burnum (1936–1997) – was an activist, actor and author.

Eric Onus – played an active role both politically and socially among Victorian Aboriginal people. He was also a founding member of the Australian Aboriginal league established by William Cooper in mid 1930's.

William Townsend Onus (15 November 1906 – 10 January 1968), known as Bill Onus, was an Aboriginal Australian political activist.[1]

William McLintock Onus Jr (Lin Onus AM) (4 December 1948 – 23 October 1996[1]) was born Lin Burralung McLintock Onus, his father was political activist and businessman, Bill Onus. His father became the founder of the Aboriginal Advancement League and the first Aboriginal JP, dying in 1968, a year after the fruits of a long campaign, the referendum giving Aborigines the right to vote.[3] Onus was a largely self-taught urban artist who began as a motor mechanic before making artifacts for the tourist market with his father's business, Aboriginal Enterprise Novelties.[4]

Margaret Tucker – an activist who grew up on Cummrugunja reserve. She was also a musician who sung at social occasions raising funds for war efforts.

David Wirrpanda – current AFL player with the West Coast Eagles, known for his community work in helping to improve the lives of young indigenous Australians. The David Wirrpanda Foundation was launched in 2005. He was named the 9th most influential Aboriginal Australian by The Bulletin magazine on 30 November 2007.[1]

Margaret Wirrpanda -- an activist; niece of Margaret Tucker, mother to David Wirrpanda.

Andrew Walker – a current AFL Player with the Carlton Football Club. He is a number two draft pick overall (2003 National Draft) and took one of the contenders for "Mark of the Year" in 2011. Andrew has Indigenous Australian heritage and his tribal ancestry can be traced to the Yorta Yorta.[1] He played his early career in country football and represented Bendigo in the TAC Cup before catching the eye of talent scouts. He was educated at Caulfield Grammar School in Melbourne, Victoria, and graduated in 2004. In Round 18 2011 against Essendon, Walker took a huge specky over Essendon player Jake Carlisle, which was considered by many football observers, including The Age's Rohan Connolly,[10] and both match-day coaches, Brett Ratten and James Hird,[11] to be one of the greatest marks of all-time – although ultimately it did not win the season's Mark of the Year award.[12] He was awarded life membership of the Carlton Football Club in December 2011.

Music[edit]

Indigenous pop, R&B, and soul singer Jessica Mauboy performs "Ngarra Burra Ferra" at the 2013 Mbantua Festival in Alice Springs, Northern Territory with Aboriginal Australian students from Yipirinya State Primary School, of which Mauboy is the official ambassador.

The track "Ngarra Burra Ferra" sung by indigenous artist Jessica Mauboy from the 2012 hit film The Sapphires is a song based on the traditional Aboriginal hymn "Bura Fera." [8] The song is in the Yorta Yorta language and speaks of the Lord God's help in decimating a Pharaoh's armies. The chorus, Ngara burra ferra yumini yala yala, translates into English as "The Lord God drowned all Pharaoh's armies, hallelujah!" These lyrics are based on an ancient song in Jewish tradition known as the “Song of the Sea” or “Miriam’s Song”, as it was composed and sung by Miriam, older sister of the prophet Moses. It can be found in Exodus 15, especially verse 4, “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea." Aboriginal communities of Victoria and southern New South Wales may be the only people in the world who still sing the piece (in Yorta Yorta).[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Yorta Yorta Co-operative Management Agreement
  2. ^ Federal Court of Australia, Members of the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal Community v Victoria & Ors, [1998] FCA 1606 (18 December 1998). Accessed 11 September 2011
  3. ^ Federal Court of Australia, Members of the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal Community v Stateof Victoria (Including Corrigendum dated 21 March 2001), [2001] FCA 45 (8 February 2001) Accessed 11 September 2011
  4. ^ High Court of Australia, Members of the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal Community v Victoria, HCA 58; 214 CLR 422; 194 ALR 538; 77 ALJR 356 (12 December 2002). Accessed 11 September 2011
  5. ^ The World Today, Reporter: Louise Yaxley, Yorta Yorta lose native title case, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 12 December 2002. Accessed 11 September 2012
  6. ^ Fergus Shiel, Yorta Yorta win historic deal, The Age, 1 May 2004. Accessed 11 September 2011
  7. ^ http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/news.aspx/138896
  8. ^ a b "The lyrics to Bura Fera". towalkwithyou.com. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2014.