The Federal Court has recognised native title rights in WA’s northern Goldfields.

The native title rights of the Nyalpa Pirniku claim group now covers over 30,000 square kilometres in the northern Goldfields, after the court acknowledged their rights to engage in traditional practices, cultural activities, and protect cultural sites in the area. 

The term “Nyalpa Pirniku” translates to “old people” in Wongai, paying homage to those who have passed away.

While the Nyalpa Pirniku claim was filed relatively recently, it covered much of the same area as a former Wongatha native title claim, which was dismissed in 2007, causing lasting damage and internal divisions among claimants.

Wongatha traditional owners say they hope the recognition inspires Aboriginal people across the country to persevere in their own struggles for native title rights, and leads to increased services, such as rehabilitation and counselling centres for the community.

Native title claims in the Goldfields area have seen limited success due to the complex interactions between Aboriginal and European people in its early history. 

As similar cases unfold, like the Marlinyu Ghoorlie native title claim, the hope is that these determinations will bring a new era of respect and collaboration between traditional owners and mining companies.