The Federal Court has made a significant native title ruling over land taken for military use in the 1940s.

The Bar-Barrum people in far north Queensland have had a claim recognised for lands near the town of Herberton.

The area had been claimed by the Commonwealth for military training purposes under the National Security Act at the end of the Second World War.

Now it has been given back to the traditional owners, the Bar-Barrum people, who were represented before the Federal Court by the North Queensland Land Council (NQLC).

NQLC spokesperson Martin Dore says the ruling could set a precedent for many other tracts of land set aside for military use.

“Evidence filed in the court indicated that across Australia there were in excess of 13,500 such orders made, so had the ruling been that it extinguished native title, that would be a very widespread lot of extinguishments,” he said.

“Land was used for all sorts of military purposes - we know of one in the Bar Barram people's claim area where land was taken and used for an artillery practice range and a practice bombing range.”