Victoria Park Land Rights meeting, February 1980


In 1976, the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people formed the Pitjantjatjara Council so they could effectively organise and protect their land and culture. Land and Land Rights have always been central to the activities of the Council. Struggles with the South Australian government resulted in handing over of the Pitjantjatjara Freehold Land to its Traditional Owners in 1981.

The struggle for Land Rights in Western Australia has continued, involving among other things, a convoy of 600 Anangu from Ngaanyatjarra country to Perth in 1982 to lobby politicians and submissions to the Seaman Inquiry. In November 1988, the Ngaanyatjarra people accepted 99 year leases from the Western Australian Government.

The handing over of title of Uluru to traditional owners on October 26, 1985 was the culmination of a struggle that began with the Council in 1976.

The Pitjantjatjara Council was also instrumantal in having the Royal Commission into British Nuclear tests established.

During the first two years of its existence, the Pitjantjatjara Council had no funding, no office and no staff. The first full-time worker was employed in 1979.

From that time onwards, the Council staff grew in order to meet the needs of people and organisations within the region and to assist the development of new organisations to meet specific geographical and service needs eg Ngaanyatjarra Council, Anangu Pitjantjatjara and AWS.



First Pitjantjatjara Council meeting at Amata, July 1976