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Former Kidman station in Victoria being handed back to Traditional Owners

Chris McLennan
By Chris McLennan
May 13 2022 - 1:00am

What was once Victoria's largest cattle and sheep station is being handed back to its Traditional Owners.

Ownership of the 30,000 hectare (74,132 acre) Ned's Corner is being transferred to the Millewa Mallee Aboriginal Corporation.

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The state's largest freehold property was once owned by the cattle king Sir Sidney Kidman and stretches 35 kilometres along the Murray River west of Mildura.

Ned's Corner, in the far north-west of the state, has been under the control of Trust For Nature for the past 20 years after being made a private conservation reserve.

Millions of taxpayer and donated dollars has been spent since grazing ended to restore the land, with a heavy emphasis on killing weeds to restore native plants and controlling vermin.

It is the largest piece of private land to be returned to Traditional Owners in the state.

RESTORATION: Numerous species of saltbush dominate the landscape at Ned's Corner. Picture: Colleen Barnes, Trust for Nature.

The Victorian government has pledged an extra $2 million to continue conservation works and planning for a future, fenced haven on the site to protect at risk wildlife from a range of threats including foxes and feral cats.

Trust for Nature paid $2.5 million for Ned's Corner with help from the Federal government and private donations back in 2002.

The environmental group and its supporters have spent the past two decades transforming Ned's Corner from a grazing property to a flourishing ecosystem for native plants and animals; many being rare and threatened in Victoria.

First People of the Millewa Mallee Aboriginal Corporation can now undertake cultural assessments and mapping for the land as well as employ rangers for ecological and conservation works.

The public are still expected to be able to visit the reserve with guidance from Traditional Owners.

Rabbit control and the removal of grazing has helped Ned's Corner recover. Picture: Trust for Nature.

The land transfer is expected to be completed within two years.

A Trust for Nature conservation covenant is being placed on the property.

First People of the Millewa Mallee Aboriginal Corporation chair Norman (Tinawin) Wilson said: "The handback of our traditional lands is an historic occasion for our people.

"Our lands were stolen, and our people killed, but we are still here today. Having our land back will allow us to restore our cultural practices, and care for the land and river properly."

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Chris McLennan

Chris McLennan

National Rural Property Writer

ACM national rural property writer based in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria. Career journalist. Multi award winner.

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