Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


‘Return of Kings Run Shows Community Leadership’

*All pics Matt Newton, http://www.matthewnewton.com.au/




First published October 9

The return of the late, great Geoff King’s takayna property to Aboriginal ownership is both an historic moment and an important step towards ensuring Geoff’s legacy of care for that extraordinary, wild coastline lives on.

Geoff King gave his life to protecting the culturally rich landscape his family long owned from damage and vandals, often putting himself at personal risk to do so.

He was also always happy to share Kings Run, telling stories to fortunate guests into the night as Tasmanian devils fought over carcasses he’d collected outside his little shack on the coast.

Kings Run is now back in Aboriginal hands as a result of a dedicated philanthropic effort to ensure its rightful ownership and protection.

Sadly, the only significant lands that have been returned under the Liberals have been done so privately, with the Premier and Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Will Hodgman, giving little back but empty promises to ‘reset the relationship’ with Tasmania’s Aboriginal people.

While we celebrate the return of Kings Run, we also need to acknowledge there is so much unfinished business with this island’s first people.

The return of lands is critical to reconciliation and, given his failure to do so over the past three and a half years, we urge the Premier to make a statement about whether he’ll restart land returns if reelected in the next term.

ABC: Wotif founder’s donation seals the deal to return Kings Run to Aboriginal owners A significant piece of the Tarkine on Tasmania’s north-west is to be handed to its traditional Aboriginal owners following a large donation from the founder of the Wotif travel website, Graeme Wood. Kings Run, the 338-hectare stretch between the Arthur River and Marrawah, has been purchased from previous owner Geoff King by the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania (ALCT) through a funding arrangement. The Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC), the Bob Brown Foundation, the Tasmania Land Conservancy and the donation of over $325,000 from Mr Wood all formed the funds needed to purchase the property from the late Mr King, who had expressed a desire for the land to return to Aboriginal ownership before his death in 2013 …

Mercury: Aboriginal land to be handed back to traditional owners at Kings Run

Peter Whish-Wilson: Kings Run return a seminal moment for the future of takayna On behalf of the Australian Greens, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, who is attending today’s ceremony, welcomes the return of Kings Run to Aboriginal ownership and congratulates everyone involved. Senator Whish-Wilson said, “The return of Kings Run to Aboriginal ownership and management is an exceptional achievement on so many levels. Not only does it provide an example of what meaningful redress for two centuries of dispossession for local Aboriginal people can look like, but also has achieved enduring protection for land of incredible natural and cultural heritage values. “Today is special for many reasons, not least because it is about action and leadership, shown by the community, individuals and organisations. This leaderships sends a powerful signal for others to follow … “Whilst some politicians are seeking to divide the community over a 4wd track that puts at risk priceless cultural heritage, the hand-back of Kings Run shows another vision of what can be achieved through cooperation and mutual respect. “Eco-tourism and cultural interpretation at Kings Run (together with Preminghana) can provide years of economic opportunity for the local Aboriginal people. takayna is a wondrous landscape that could rival all of Tasmania’s tourism experiences, especially for the cultural heritage aspects …

Read Jenny Weber (the Bob Brown Foundation) on the handover. This is the official statement …

Celebration as Kings Run land returns to Aboriginal ownership

Indigenous cultural sites and several endangered animal species will be protected in north western Tasmania with the purchase of Kings Run station.

The Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania (ALCT) bought Kings Run following a funding arrangement with the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC), the Bob Brown Foundation and the Tasmanian Land Conservancy.

Kings Run is a culturally and environmentally significant property of 338ha near the entry to the Tarkine wilderness area.

There are 10 confirmed cultural sites, a further 22 on the adjacent coastal reserve, and habitat for threatened species, including the Tasmanian Devil, Orange-bellied Parrot, and Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle.

The property contains sites of immense cultural heritage and has outstanding environmental values with little visible impact from European invasion.

Additional Aboriginal interpretation of the area – rich with hut depressions, middens, fish traps and seal hides – will aid cross-cultural understanding and a deeper appreciation of pakana culture, past and present.

The ILC granted $680,000 to ALCT, while the Bob Brown Foundation (BBF) and Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC) secured $385,000 from donations to enable ALCT to buy the property. Graeme Wood made a leadership gift of over $325 000 to secure Kings Run.

Indigenous rangers with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC) will manage Kings Run as an extension of the nearby Preminghana Indigenous Protected Area.

ILC Chairperson Mr Eddie Fry said working collaboratively with a range of partners had been a great process and has led to lasting outcomes for Tasmanian Indigenous people.

“Acquiring Kings Run increases the Indigenous estate in Tasmania and provides the Aboriginal community access to what is land of significant cultural and heritage value”, he said.

“I’d also like to thank the vendor, Margo Jones, for offering ALCT first right of refusal on the sale.”

ALCT Chairman Clyde Mansell said the Kings Run purchase will help the Aboriginal community re-establish its place in the broader West Coast Cultural Landscape.

“Kings Run provides a base for interpretation of our links specific to the local area and that of the takayna region,” Mr Mansell said.

“The partnership between ALCT, the ILC, the TLC and the Bob Brown Foundation is an example of how like-minded bodies can achieve meaningful outcomes that redress the dispossession of land of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community,” Mr Mansell said.

“In keeping with the legacy of the late Geoff King of ensuring the environmental and cultural values of the property are respected, the ALCT will delegate management of the property to the Tasmania Aboriginal Centre which has great experience in managing culturally significant sites and has been active in looking after the property,” Mr Mansell said.

“The Tasmanian Land Conservancy is delighted to once again join forces with the Indigenous Land Corporation, Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, this time with the added support of the Bob Brown Foundation, to protect this natural and Aboriginal cultural icon now and for future generations to come,” Stuart Barry, President Tasmanian Land Conservancy said.

“Partnerships like this leverage on the generosity and commitment of government, the community and individuals who come together from all walks of life for the common purpose of preserving land for nature and Aboriginal culture in Tasmania,” Mr Barry said.

“I reckon Geoff King would be very happy that this magnificent 500 hectares, which he did so much to protect and have others enjoy, is now back in the hands of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community,” Bob Brown said.

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. mjf

    October 14, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    Don’t be ridiculous

    Who pays anything to a previous owner for anything that’s stolen ? If wouldn’t be stolen then.

    Your mob get some traditional country back to keep. That as good as you can hope for, I’d say.

    What happens to it now is the ALCT’s affair only. It appears one title is in the name of the TLC though.

    I wonder why the King estate didn’t just donate it back as a wonderful act of philanthropy.

  2. Russell

    October 14, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Re #19
    Seeing the land was stolen in the first place without any payment at all, I believe an annual rent is due anyway (backdated 200+ years) as a proportion of the national GDP, as the Indigenous leaders meeting at Uluru proposed.

  3. Simon Warriner

    October 14, 2017 at 9:35 am

    re #10, that makes it much clearer.

  4. MjF

    October 13, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    The Kings Run property was purchased by the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania (ALCT) through a funding arrangement.

    The Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC), the Bob Brown Foundation, the Tasmania Land Conservancy and the donation of over $325,000 from Mr Wood all formed the funds needed to purchase the property.

    The Indigenous Land Council (ILC) is funded by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Account (ATSILA) to the tune of $45 mill or so per annum.

    ATSILA is a self sustaining capital fund which provides a secure and ongoing source of funding to ILC. Self sustaining in the sense that when its value drops it’s then topped up by the government.

    The ILC also accepts public donations as does BBF and Tas Land Conservancy and so, who to donate to ?

    ATSILA is a Federal Government entity and sits within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. It is funded by Australian taxpayers and administered in accordance with the ATSI Act and the PGPA Act (Public Governance, Performance and Accountability) … phew, a few shiny arses involved with that lot.

    So to summarise, federal government money bankrolls ATSILA who bankrolls ILC who bankrolls ALCT (as one of four contributors) to purchase said land.

    No state funds are spent here but an unspecified amount of federal money has gone into it.

    I imagine such a sale is stamp duty exempt.

  5. Russell

    October 13, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Re #17
    As I understand it, the Government gave nothing towards Kings Run.

    They could have done much better though if the $800,000+ awarded to a mysterious media company for ‘Indigenous Education’ was given directly to Indigenous Tasmanians to acquire more land or educate the non-Indigenous Tasmanians as Rangers in their own right.

    I’m a qualified Tour Guide and thought the course was laughable, just another academic money grab. I learned more from my early years living in the country.

  6. Robin Charles Halton

    October 13, 2017 at 7:21 am

    The local Tasmanian aboriginal has done well as of lately, government planning financial support for the opening up of the Larapuna walk on the East Coast and now the ownership of Kings Run on the West Coast.

    Hopefully both would lead to vastly improved relationships with the broader community!

  7. Robin Charles Halton

    October 12, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    #12 Its actually Dougal as I was reminded, a tall erect serious Scot that I first met at the Freycinet Office a few years ago, I dont think he was a local from around here, he may have been one of those ex cops that you are referring to!

    How many of these non Rangers posing as rangers are in the Service.
    Are you sure that some of these persons that you mention are working at a lower level, doing the Diploma course part time!

    It makes sense PWS provides their on the job training similar to Tech Forester (Forest Ranger) program used by FC which used to provide some block training as well followed by written?practical examinations at year 4 and year 6 before being able to move to higher levels as positions became available.

  8. Robin Charles Halton

    October 12, 2017 at 12:21 am

    #12 O’Brien thats news to me as I have not been close enough to PWS staff for the past 20 years as any one from the technical side of Parks who was serious about a career apart from Uni graduates would be expected to achieve a Diploma in Park Management run by TAFE with initial employment at a lower level within the Service!

    Well maybe next time when I have to camp illegally at Friendly Beaches because most of the over night spaces were being occupied by tour groups, when Duncan is on his regular morning patrol from Coles Bay, happens to pull me up during my early morning retreat I’ll ask him, “Hey Duncan, you seem a friendly sort of a chap do you have a Diploma in Park Management” just to get the conversation rolling.

  9. Simon Warriner

    October 11, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    A number of years ago I wrote a submission to the Victorian High Court in a court case where an individual made a land claim on Sundown Point on the basis that it was his ancestral land. I quoted (the now Dr) Ian Mac Farlane’s doctorial thesis on the history of the NW Tasmanian Aborigines, and argued that in order for that claim to stand the individual would appear to need to substantiate a lineage back to Tynedic, the last known living member of the people whose land it was, according to the contemporary record. The claim was withdrawn. My involvement with the matter was as a result of asking Ian about the history of the region out of pure interest at a series of social gatherings well prior to hearing about the claim, and the response to the claim was made on behalf of the Braddon 4WD Club whose interest at the time was based on keeping access via Sundown Point open.

    On the basis on which I contested that claim I have to ask whether the “handing back” of this land is an accurate description of what is really taking place. “Handing Back” suggests that it is being given to one who once possessed it. That would require a lineage to Tynedic to be established by at least some of the membership of the recipient body.

    It appears to me that, if my reading of MacFarlane is correct, what is being engaged in around this matter is being done with an ignorance of history. It would be good to hear from Dr MacFarlane on this issue, and from Greame Wood and co.

    Justice, they say, is based on truth. Lets see the lineage back to Tynedic from those who have been handed the land.

  10. John Maddock

    October 10, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Mick #9

    As I understand it, both have been done and reported, and there is no doubt of Aboriginal occupation. If you contact Peter White or Richard Gilmour at Housing they might give you copies of the archaeological surveys.

    On “Rulla” itself, someone arranged for a disk plough to turn over the paddocks on the western side of Coffee Creek, north of the golf club. My understanding is that many artifacts were discovered and pegged.

    Ms O’Connor, at our meeting, raised past Aboriginal occupation as an argument against our proposal to quarantine an adjoining farm from development. A subdivision on that land is now almost ready for the market.

    As for the soil qualities, both DPIPWE (in previous incarnations) and CSIRO have produced soil surveys and both clearly record Class 3 and 4 soils on Tertiary basalt. The other rock type present is Triassic sandstone; no Permian mudstone!

    As to the early European observations, the original grantee James Baynton selected an unusual shaped block which covered all the Tertiary basalt west and south of Kingston.

    I recollect reading that Baynton described the area as open woodland – which raises the possibility of the Aborigines practicing regular burning to encourage fresh grass to attract wallabies. The quality of the soil would have ensured good growth of the native grasses.


  11. O'Brien

    October 10, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Several contributors seem to under the understandable yet mistaken assumption Tassie’s National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) Rangers are ‘highly trained’ or ‘qualified’. Many may be surprised to find the majority have no qualifications aside from a lifetime of departmental pay-cheques and having attended the same leading Hobart private school. Or are ex-police, all previously known to one another and responsible for each others position applications and selection process. This particularly applies to middle and upper management. In fact some ‘conservation’ officers have direct pecuniary interests in forestry and tourism activity. Much like the Catholic Church, many people once assumed men of the cloth must be decent people, or all cops are law abiding, the same applies to NPWS Rangers. Just because they smile, say what you like to hear and look the part doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t immoral thieving lying bastards. Just walk in to the main NPWS office Tolosa Street Glenorchy and ask to speak with, whoops better keep that one under wraps or I may be fitted up by bent Rangers/cops again. Many people have an inherent human need to defer to a ethical/moral authority, to venerate ‘heroes’ and in these days of ‘environmental’ gods Rangers trade on that. In fact let’s imagine Tassie had a functioning government and judiciary that conducted a thorough historical investigation of where thousands of millions of conservation dollars have gone. Look around you there isn’t much to show for it.

  12. Mick Kenny

    October 10, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    #9 Sounds like a good opportunity to do a detailed archeological and land survey. One observation early Europeans did regularly make is how ‘good soil’ could be observed in discrete pockets. The location suggests regular use and occupation would be likely.

  13. Robin Charles Halton

    October 10, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    #7 Agree that the Circular Head grouping needs to be a part of the ownership of the Kings run venture.

    It is desirable Aboriginal rangers are properly trained in keeping with PWS Reserves land management practices as well as specialising in their own areas of expertise for being able to present local indigenous culture to the general public.

    If the intention is otherwise to conduct their own cultural desires exclusively for their own needs by declaring the area is off limits to the general public then public funding should not be provided for purposes of up keep of the site.

  14. John Maddock

    October 9, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Considering her praise for this recent return of land to Aboriginal ownership, perhaps Ms O’Connor would support the return to Aboriginal ownership of almost 70ha of land at 1287 Channel Highway, Kingston (previously known as “Rulla” when it was a dairy farm owned by the late Les Gabriel).

    The majority of this land is Class 3 and 4, (of which there is very little in Tasmania) capable of a wide range of agricultural pursuits – far too good to grow a once-off crop of houses which Ms O’Connor decided would happen when she was the Minister.

    This land was compulsorily acquired in 1973 by the State government for housing, with funding from the Whitlam government.

    When she was Minister Ms O’Connor rejected a private report which was in accord with all other government reports confirming the high quality of the soil on the farm. Instead, she accepted and vigorously defended a report commissioned verbally by her department’s consultants which claimed the majority of the land was low quality Class 5 derived from Permian mudstone. There is no Permian mudstone on the property. The report on which she relied – and on which the present Minister relies – is invalid.

    Considering that numerous Aboriginal artifacts have been found along Coffee Creek which flows through the farm thereby suggesting past frequent use by Aborigines, the high quality of the soil, and considering the good transport links with Murrayfield on north Bruny run by the Australian Indigenous Agribusiness Company, it is obvious to me that “Rulla” should be handed to the Indigenous Land Corporation and run in conjunction with the Bruny farm.


  15. Robin Charles Halton

    October 9, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    #2 TGC, You might be aware that the ALC already have a tourism venture ready to start this summer, which is a 4 day Bay of Fires walk from Mt King William (wukalina) to Eddystone Point light house (larapuna).

    It is believed that over the last seven years with elder Clyde Mansell as the driving force the walk is set to be the states highest profile Aboriginal tourism offering.

    Its has not come cheap as the Federal Government is believed to have chipped in $1M and the State govt $700,000 for construction of huts and facilities.

    The cost of the walk from Launceston pick up is to cost walkers $2495 pp, ongoing operator palawa Enterprises Trust will receive a “kick off” fund of $278,000 from the State government as a Community infrastructure grant.

    Acording to PWC it is forecasted the venture could take 420 walkers pa, employ 9 people and generate $1M per season!

    Tourism leaders have lauded the proposal’s potential to tap into a nation wide trend towards Aboriginal cultural experiences.

    Anyway, its a good way of recoginising local aboriginal culture and hopefully lead to some worthy interrelationship outcomes within Tasmania.

  16. Erica Cartman

    October 9, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    This article is confusing and concerning. The ABC article says it is to be managed by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Council. What is that group? The Mercury says it is to be managed by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC). They are in Hobart and not the local North West Aboriginal people. The locals are the Circular Head Aborigines. These are not recognised as Aborigines by the TAC, but other Tas Aborigines do recognise them. What are “(genuine) Aboriginal guides” in #2 above? Do you mean genuine Aborigines or properly trained guides?

    The funding from the Federal Govt Indigenous Land Corporation (ie our taxes) is given for the purpose of furthering Reconciliation between Aboriginal people and other Australians. The TAC has a questionable record in this. A friend went to Oyster Cove to pay her respects but wasn’t allowed in. Are non-Aborigines allowed in to visit Risdon Cove to pay their respects, or to look at the rock engravings at Preminghana?

    The Greens are looking forward to ecotourism and interpretation by Aborigines for the public. Will there be any? What training have the TAC rangers had? Do they have the skills to look after the rare wildlife and birds there? The training of National Parks Rangers is extensive. It should be no less for the Aboriginal rangers put in charge of managing these areas. Of course Tasmanian Aborigines should be recompensed for the sufferings of the past and racism of the present. The realization of the vision of the late Geoff King is a great thing. I hope his former land can be visited and enjoyed by everyone.

  17. Chris

    October 9, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Will Will will his land to anyone but him, lets consult the AG he will know?
    Will Will allow or legalise the wilful destruction of this area with wheels of wanton wandalism or will Will want the emails to communicate?

  18. TGC

    October 9, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    I saw a 4wheel drive vehicle the other day with a sign on the doors indicating it belonged to the Aboriginal ‘Association’!

  19. John Powell

    October 9, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Now for Will Hodgman to MANDATE that there will be no 4WDs on the Tarkine Wilderness and Aboriginal Heritage sites FULL STOP and to tell @Brooksy4Braddon to resign and hand over his emails re Shree and Venture

  20. Tim Thorne

    October 9, 2017 at 11:48 am

    A great good news story, even if I wouldn’t be too happy at having to buy back something that had been stolen from me.

    And the photos are excellent.

  21. TGC

    October 9, 2017 at 10:35 am

    This is a most commendable development – and it is now up to the ‘community’ to take advantage of a remarkable asset by initiating a program of general (guided) public access (tourism if you like) at a significant fee, the income from which can contribute to the maintenance of the land and employment of (genuine) aboriginal guides.
    There is little doubt many from mainland Australia- and overseas-especially Asia/China, would pay up big for such an experience.

  22. Helen Tait

    October 9, 2017 at 12:06 am

    What a thrill to hear of the land of King’s Run being ceded to the custody of Tasmania’s First Peoples.

    It seems so fitting for the love and passion that Geoff King fostered in knowing this North West place.

    Helen Tait Launceston

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top