The Bigambul Determination Area was a particularly violent frontier in the Nineteenth Century. History tells of the fierce bravery of Our Nation’s people, with the resistance of the Bigambul people to pastoral incursion well documented. This resistance was however met with reprisal attacks by settlers and coordinated efforts of ‘dispersal’ by colonial authorities.
The Bigambul resistance campaign was geared toward causing maximum economic disruption for settlers in an effort to convince them to abandon the region completely. This however would stimulate reprisal attacks and as noted more coordinated efforts of violence and dispersal that would ultimately see the Bigambul population reduced to 300 by the end of 1850 – a significant decline from population estimates of 3,000 Bigambul people pre-settler contact.
The massacres committed against the Bigambul people are well documented, however; there is high likelihood that there were more instances of violence perpetrated than recorded.
- Bottoms, T. 2013 A Conspiracy of Silence. Sydney: Allen and Unwin.
- Kenny, A. 2011 Bigambul Peoples Native Title Determination Application QUD101/2009 Anthropology Report. Prepared for the Queensland South Native Title Services Limited.
- Evans, R. 2007 A History of Queensland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Copland, M. 1990 A system of assassination: the MacIntyre River Frontier 1837-1850. Unpublished Honours Thesis. School of History, Philosophy, Religion & Classics, The University of Queensland.
Native Title Determination
The Bigambul People are Traditional Owners for approximately 17,134 sq km of country which lies between the towns of St George, Tara and Texas in the Darling Downs region of Queensland. Our country spans part of the Balonne, Goondiwindi, Toowoomba and Western Downs regional councils.
We were formally recognised as Native Title Holders by the Federal Court of Australia in a two-part native title claim, determined by consent on 1 December 2016 and 23 June 2017 respectively.
Our native title area is as depicted in the map below.
Our Native Title Rights
In respect of our traditional lands and waters, the Bigambul People have non-exclusive rights and interests to:
- access, be present on, move about on, and travel over, the area;
- camp, and live temporarily on the area as part of camping, and for that purpose build temporary shelters on the area
- hunt, fish and gather on the land and waters of the area for personal, domestic and non-commercial communal purposes
- take, use, share and exchange natural resources from the land and waters of the area for personal, domestic and non-commercial communal purposes
- take and use the water of the area for personal, domestic and non-commercial communal purposes
- conduct ceremonies on the area
- be buried and bury Native Title Holders within the area
- teach on the area the physical, cultural and spiritual attributes of the area
- maintain places of importance and areas of significance to the native title holders under their traditional laws and customs and protect those places and areas from physical harm
- light fires on the area for domestic purposes including cooking, but not for the purpose of hunting or clearing vegetation
- be accompanied onto the area by certain non-Bigambul people, being people required for the performance of ceremonies and cultural activities.