ON THIS DAY in 1976, the High Court of Australia delivered Murphyores Inc Pty Ltd v Commonwealth (“Fraser Island case”)  HCA 20; (1976) 136 CLR 1 (14 April 1976).
The court held that the Commonwealth could validly legislate over the environment through its trade and commerce powers under the Constitution. As a result, sand mining licensed by the Queensland Government was prohibited on the Fraser Island – the largest sand island in the world.
Fraser Island later became part of the Register of the National Estate, National Heritage List and the World Heritage List.
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