Jewish Ozzies' Inter.Net
The electronic voice of the Australian Jewish Community

Letters from Jewish Australia - No.41

An anthropologist's record of a Federal Court Hearing.

By Geraldine Jones
President of J.O.I.N.
October 20th 1996

When Rod Hagen recently did a general Native Title WWW search he discovered JOIN and a reference to "Australian Catharsis: Coping With Native Title" by Ron Castan QC, which we first distributed over two and half years ago.

Rod is the anthropologist engaged by the Yorta Yorta people on the Murray River to provide anthropological and historical documentation for their native title case. This is the first claim to reach full hearing stage in the Federal Court under the Native Title Act. The hearing commenced in the Federal Court last week, with Brian Keon Cohen leading the case for the claimants (Arnold Bloch Leibler are the instructing solicitors).

Rod has expressed his delight in receiving the Castan article and, as a result of his contact with us, we are fortunate to be able to share the news that he is personally circulating notes on the daily hearings of the Yorta Yorta Native Title Claim.

As I stated in 1994, "We all carry a personal responsibility to face up to the reality of the shameful aspects of Australia's past, to be informed about them and to resolve to work differently with Aboriginal people and communities in the future, using this knowledge."

At that time I think there was a degree of euphoria in the belief that Australians were successfully striving to create a more equal playing field for future generations.

Since then there has been enormous publicity given to the abduction of Aboriginal children and the many wrongs inflicted on their community. This notwithstanding, the political climate in Australia today appears to give even great comfort to racists wishing to speak their mind.

It becomes increasingly important therefore for us to publish material which can educate us towards dealing with this phenomenon.

Any interested JOINers can be put on Rod's list simply by mailing him at (or

Having read the first two postings, I can personally recommend this to you.


Geraldine Jones



1. *Extract: "Traditional Yorta Yorta/Bangerang lands lie on both sides of the Murray River roughly from Echuca to Albury/Wodonga. They include towns such as Shepparton, Benalla and Wangaratta and extend northwards to just south of Denilquin. The claim seeks confirmation of the continuation of native title over forests and other public lands along the Murray and Goulburn Rivers. The claim is lodged by 270 selected applicants, representing the 4,000-4,500 living Yorta Yorta/Bangerang people."

2. If you haven't read "Australian Catharsis: Coping With Native Title" by Ron Castan QC simply mail with CASTAN in the subject line. If you would also like L.F.J.A. No 9 please put CASTAN/9 in the subject line.

3. If you have material which you believe would be of interest to JOINers please send it to us for publication.

4. If you would like to JOIN our Australian/Jewish discussion forum please mail leave the subject line blank send the message subscribe JOIN-TALK yourfirstname yourlastname To post messages to the list you simply mail to

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