A local Aboriginal land council in northern NSW has been appointed to manage a new Crown Land reserve dedicated to the preservation of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage.

The appointment of the Tweed Byron LALC to manage the new 2.3 hectare Fingal Head reserve makes it the first land council to become a Crown Land Manager in NSW.

The headland is also known as booninybah or the place of the big echidna because of its basalt rocks shaped like echidna spines and is recognised as a special cultural place with continued connection to the local community.

Tweed Byron Aboriginal Land Council CEO and Gumbaynggir and Bundajalung woman Leweena Williams said the appointment is a “huge accomplishment” and would ensure the community’s legacy of protecting the area would remain intact into the future.

“This is a demonstration of our Lore being recognised and formalised into Law.”

A celebration dance on Fingal headland, despite the rain. Image and video provided.

Ms Williams said the appointment was a ‘testament’ to the work of Elders who had led the way in protecting the area and have given clear instructions to ensure Cultural Responsibilities were carried out into the future.

“Fingal Head is an absolute gem of a place, but the things that attract people to it can also inadvertently impact it through continuous pedestrian access and unauthorised clearing of the grassland, trees and rocky areas,” Ms Williams said.

The battle to reach this point has been long and not always easy. Ms Williams said there was a “big push” in the 1980s to develop the strip, including the headland,

Developers had planned an international hotel, a luxury marina and a 400 townhouse/condiminium complex for the land, which would have seen the destruction of an important dreaming site, remnant rainforest and a protected wetland area.

“What was born from that was a ‘Keep Fingal Special’ campaign, which became an international campaign where people came from overseas to support our local Goori community.”

So it means a great deal, it’s been a long, hard fight.”