Where We Are
Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community and Jervis Bay Territory
Jervis Bay Territory is made up of 6312 hectares of Booderee National Park, 403 hectares of Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Lands and several other jurisdictions and land tenures that include the Department of Defence facilities at HMAS Creswell, Jervis Bay Range facility and Bherwerre Ridge Communications facility; the Jervis Bay Village and private leases managed by the Territories Division of the Australian Governments – Department of Regional Services, Regional Development and Local Government.
Wreck Bay Community and the ‘403’ Lands
The Wreck Bay Community settlement consists of 403 hectares on the southern shores of Bherwerre Peninsula. The settlement is made up of a village and surrounding bushland and beaches. The village consists of several streets with 48 houses, a Council Administration office, an early education learning centre, a medical centre, a community hall, multi functional centre, playing fields, a fire shed and cemetery. The village area is regarded as a private area that is for Community members and their invited guests.
The 403 hectares encompass a very popular public recreation destination, known as Summercloud Bay. This area contains one of the region’s boat ramps, a picnic area and toilets. Summercloud Bay is best known as one of the south coast’s, and arguably one of the nation’s best surfing spots. Generations of Community members have surfed at Summercloud and continue to do so today. Wreck Bay Community members consider that learning to surf at Summercloud goes beyond surfing to making connections with land and seascape. The area also serves as a trail head to a number of popular walks and beaches in Booderee National Park.
Despite being a rather small Community in population numbers, the administration and legal arrangements which govern and influence the management of the Community are complex. This complexity is primarily due to its location within the Jervis Bay Territory and its relationship with other agencies and organisations within the Territory and in adjacent NSW. The Community is unique as it is the only Aboriginal Community located in a non-self governing Territory. The Community itself is on freehold land granted to the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council (WBACC) under the Aboriginal Land Grant (Jervis Bay Territory) Act 1986, the land grant Act. The Community is managed by the WBACC, established under the Land Grant Act, with the functions and powers of the Council determined by the Land Grant Act. The Council provides a range of municipal services to the Wreck Bay village and has an executive which is made up of nine elected members.
Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community village has a population between 250 – 300 (January 2011). There are 315 registered members of the WBACC (January 2011), with a number of members living outside the Community, with some residing in nearby villages and towns and others residing elsewhere in Australia. Community members generally belong to one of several main family groups that have lived in the village for generations.
The WBACC has 35 permanent staff working in management, community development, early childhood, land management and administration. Many Community members are also employed by the Australian Government at Booderee National park working in areas such as a Booderee Visitors Centre, compliance and education fields, in administration, in natural resource management and in the botanic gardens.
Booderee National Park
The majority of the Bherwerre Peninsula comprises Booderee National Park which is owned by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council. Since title to the Park was granted to the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council in 1995, the Park has been jointly managed by the WBACC and the Australian Government’s Director of National Parks, under a lease arrangement.
The Park is a Commonwealth reserve under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). It replaced the Australian Government managed Jervis Bay National Park which was declared in 1992. Prior to 1992, the area was known as Jervis Bay Nature Reserve, managed by the ACT Parks and Conservation service since 1971.
The Park is managed in accordance with the Booderee National Park Management Plan, which is prepared by the Booderee National Park Board of management and the Director of National Parks under the EPBC Act.