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Oak Valley, South Australia facts for kids

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Oak Valley
South Australia
Oak Valley is located in South Australia
Oak Valley
Oak Valley
Coordinates 29°24′07″S 130°44′10″E / 29.401881°S 130.73623°E / -29.401881; 130.73623Coordinates: 29°24′07″S 130°44′10″E / 29.401881°S 130.73623°E / -29.401881; 130.73623
LGA(s) Maralinga Tjarutja
Region Eyre Western
State electorate(s) Giles
Federal Division(s) Grey

Oak Valley is the only community of Maralinga Tjarutja Aboriginal Council (AC) Local Government Area (LGA), South Australia. The population fluctuates, but a 2016 survey reported around 128 people, mostly Aboriginal. It is approximately 128 kilometres (80 mi) NNW of the original Maralinga township, and lies at the southern edge of the Great Victoria Desert. It is named for the desert oaks that populate the vicinity of the community.

It was established in 1984 with funds provided as compensation for the dispossession of the Maralinga people from their lands following the British nuclear tests which took place between 1956 and 1963. The risks associated with living in an area contaminated by plutonium, even after the cleanup have been a significant concern.

In 2003 South Australian Premier Mike Rann and Education Minister Trish White opened a new school at Oak Valley, replacing what had been described as the "worst school in Australia". In May 2004, following the passage of special legislation, Premier Rann handed back title to 21,000 square kilometres (8,100 sq mi) of land to the Maralinga Tjarutja and Pila Nguru people. The land, 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) northwest of Adelaide and abutting the Western Australia border, was called the Unnamed Conservation Park. It is now known as Mamungari Conservation Park, and includes the Serpentine Lakes. It was the largest land return since Premier John Bannon's handover of Maralinga lands in 1984. At the 2004 ceremony Premier Rann said the return of the land fulfilled a promise he made in 1991 when he was Aboriginal Affairs Minister, after he passed legislation to return lands including the sacred Ooldea area (which also included the site of Daisy Bates' mission camp) to the Maralinga Tjarutja people.

Images from Oak Valley and the Maralinga lands were the focus of an exhibition at the 2002 Adelaide Festival.

Neighbouring Aboriginal communities

Driving distances from Oak Valley to main centres are:

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