Australian Marine Parks

Bryony Barnett and Daniela Ceccarelli. Report produced by C&R Consulting for the Department of the Environment and Water Resources, 2007.


About the report

This report provides a summary of Aboriginal interests in the East Marine Region (EMR), pre- and post-European contact, including community identity, marine resource use, past and current associations with the Region, current issues, and aspirations of these communities.

Whilst the focus is Australia’s eastern Commonwealth Waters (beyond 3 nm offshore), attention is also given to Indigenous interests in coastal and inshore areas as an indication of likely interests in waters further offshore, and in recognition of Indigenous perceptions of the connectivity between land and sea.

Moreover, the approximate 20,000 year history of Aboriginal occupation adjacent to the EMR spans a period of significant sea level rise, during which Indigenous peoples were gradually forced to move inland and traditional occupation sites became submerged.

This long-term history has implications for interpretation of Sea Country along this coastline.

The geographic scope of the report also does not include the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park or the Torres Strait.

Nonetheless it should be noted that the marine interests of Aboriginal communities adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef may extend beyond the outer boundaries of the Marine Park, particularly in the north.

Likewise, Torres Strait Islanders have a rich history as seafarers, and are likely to have interests in the northern extreme of the East Marine Region.

The information in this report has been sourced by C&R Consulting from available printed and web-based material, including:

  • published reports and books
  • research papers
  • workshop and conference summaries
  • oral histories
  • Native Title registration test summaries.

To date there are no Native Title claims or determinations over waters in the EMR, although the Report discusses six current claims that are awaiting decisions that may be relevant.

Disclaimer: This report was prepared for the Department of the Environment and Water Resources to assist in the development of the Regional Profile for the East Marine Region. The views expressed in this report are not necessarily those of the Australian Government. The Australian Government does not accept responsibility for the contents of this report.