Oak Valley, South Australia
Oak Valley is the only community of Maralinga Tjarutja Aboriginal Council (AC) Local Government Area (LGA), South Australia. The population of the LGA (at the time of the 2006 census) was 105 people all in Oak Valley. It is approximately 128 km NNW of the original Maralinga township
It was established in 1984 with funds provided as compensation for the dispossession of the Maralinga people from their lands following the Nuclear tests. The risks associated with living in an area contaminated by plutonium, even after the cleanup have been a significant concern.
In 2003 South Australian Premier Mike Rann and Education Minister Trish White opened a new school at Oak Valley replacing what had been described as the "worst school in Australia". In May 2004, following the passage of special legislation, Premier Rann handed back title to 21,000 square kilometres of land to the Maralinga Tjarutja and Pila Nguru people. The land, 1000 km Northwest of Adelaide and abutting the Western Australia border, was called the Unnamed Conservation Park. It is now known as Mamungari Conservation Park. It includes the Serpentine Lakes and was the largest land return since Premier John Bannon's hand over of Maralinga lands in 1984. At the 2004 ceremony Premier Rann said the return of the land fulfilled a promise he made in 1991 when he was Aboriginal Affairs Minister after he passed legislation to return lands including the sacred Ooldea area (which also included the site of Daisy Bates' mission camp) to the Maralinga Tjarutja people.
Neighbouring Aboriginal communities
- Tjuntjuntjara, Western Australia (west)
- Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (north)
- Yalata, South Australia (south)
Driving distances from Oak Valley to main centres are:
- Ceduna to Oak Valley – 516 km (approx 7 hours)
- Yalata to Oak Valley – 315 km (about 5 hours (via Ooldea))
- Port Lincoln to Oak Valley – 919 km
- Adelaide to Oak Valley – 1288 km
- Sandra McKay, (20 December 1997), The dispossessed, The Age, Melbourne, p. 4
- Jennie Christian, (21 June 1996), Cleaning up our nuclear past, Sydney Morning Herald: Good Weekend, Sydney, p. 18
- ABC News May 4, 2003 "Maralinga Students Welcome New School"
- The Age 25 August 2004, "Maralinga Handover Prompts Celebration"
- Robin Usher, (20 February 2002), From history's shadow, The Age, Melbourne, p. 3
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