Big Ampi Stockyards

Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries has welcomed the announcement that the Big Ampi Stockyards on the pastoral property of Big Ampi Station near Menindee have been formally declared an Aboriginal Place.

Environment and Heritage Minister Mark Speakman said the declaration recognises the cultural, social and historic significance of the site to the Aboriginal community.

Mr Humphries said the Big Ampi Stockyards demonstrate the important role that Aboriginal people played in the early pastoral period.

“This site demonstrates that Aboriginal people acquired new skills and were respected for these skills and employed to undertake major constructions, such as these very large and complex stockyards,” Mr Humphries said.

Mr Speakman said this kind of work enabled them to stay on and to ‘look after’ their country. It enabled the families to maintain their connection to country, to the ancestral storylines and to cultural activities.

Big Ampi Stockyards are adjacent to the main Menindee to Ivanhoe Road, which follows the traditional route from the Willandra Creek to the Darling River.

Big Ampi Stockyards also demonstrate the history of annexation of the country for the large pastoral station Tolarno in the 1850s, and the subdivision of Tolarno into smaller stations such as Big Ampi and Boola Boolka from 1924 onwards.

The site was nominated in September 2014 by the Elders of the Kinchega Co-Management Group, on behalf of the Menindee Aboriginal community interests, because of the strong cultural and historical values of the area. The nomination has been actively supported by the current landowners, the Aboriginal community, and Crown Lands Division NSW Trade and Investment.

“I thank the Kinchega Co-Management Group, Menindee Local Aboriginal Land Council, Jim Riordan (of Big Ampi Station) and Crown Lands for their partnership and cooperation in ensuring the declaration of Big Ampi Stockyards Aboriginal Place,” Mr Speakman said.

“The declaration of Big Ampi Stockyards as an Aboriginal Place signifies reconciliation and enshrines a sense of respect and a means of honouring the people who lived here and have a continued connection with the place.”

“Aboriginal Place declarations demonstrate that we recognise and acknowledge that Aboriginal culture is living and continuing, and that the connection of Aboriginal people to the land and culture is immensely important to their wellbeing and future.”

The declaration of an Aboriginal Place does not change the status of the land or affect ownership rights. However, a person must not harm or desecrate an Aboriginal Place.