Tag: nhulunbuy


Yirrkala is an indigenous community in East Arnhem Shire, Northern Territory of Australia.[1] It is 18 km South-East from the large mining town of Nhulunbuy in Arnhem Land. In the 2016 census, Yirrkala had a population of 809 people.[2]


At the 2006 census, Yirrkala had a population of 687.[3]

There has been an indigenous community at Yirrkala throughout recorded history, but the community increased enormously in size when Yirrkala mission was founded in 1935. Local governance and planning are now the responsibility of the Yolngu-led Dhanbul, which is roughly equivalent to a Shire Council in non-indigenous communities.

At the 2006 census, Yirrkala had a population of 687.[3]

Yirrkala is also home to a number of Mission Aviation Fellowship pilots and engineers based in Arnhem Land providing air transport services.


Yirrkala is home to a number of leading indigenous artists, whose traditional Aboriginal art, particularly bark painting, can be found in art galleries around the world, and whose work frequently wins awards such as the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards.[4] Their work is available to the public from the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre and Museum[5] and also from the YBE art centre.

It is also a traditional home of the Yidaki (didgeridoo), and some of the world’s finest didgeridoos are still made at Yirrkala.

Land rights

Yirrkala played a pivotal role in the development of the relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians when the document Bark Petition was created at Yirrkala in 1963 and sent to the Federal Government to protest at the Prime Minister’s announcement that a parcel of their land was to be sold to a bauxite mining company. Although the petition itself was unsuccessful in the sense that the bauxite mining at Nhulunbuy went ahead as planned, it alerted non-indigenous Australians to the need for indigenous representation in such decisions, and prompted a government report recommending payment of compensation, protection of sacred sites, creation of a permanent parliamentary standing committee to scrutinise developments at Yirrkala, and also acknowledged the indigenous people’s moral right to their lands. The Bark Petition is on display in the Parliament House in Canberra.[6]

Heritage listings

One of the Wurrwurrwuy stone arrangements

Yirrkala has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

Notable people


Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

That was 2018

As 2018 draws to a close we decided to revisit some of the stories affecting the region throughout the year, so we suggest you pour yourself your preferred tipple, grab a mince pie, crank up “Fairytale of New York” and journey through some of the stories and articles our volunteers gathered for you in 2018.

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Fatal crash in Arnhem Land

Overnight police responded to a report of a single vehicle crash in a remote area of North East Arnhem Land approximately 100km from Nhulunbuy. Acting Commander Warren Jackson of Northern Command confirmed that a 23-year-old female was killed as a result.

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Attacked Iraqi cab driver fears for life amid ongoing Outback Northern Territory taxi wars

A bitter, bizarre and increasingly heated Outback Northern Territory taxi cab rivalry is threatening the sanctuary of an otherwise tranquil town.

Two warring Nhulunbuy taxi companies have been hurling allegations at each other, from accusations of violent threats to petty insults about religion, with neither team willing to abate or forge peace.

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By Matt Garrick
for ABC News

A drier than average start to the wet season likely for Nhulunbuy this year

If you thought it has been dry lately, you are absolutely right! Currently as of Tuesday, November 20 it has been 95 consecutive days since any measurable rain has fallen into the official rain gauge located at the BOM office near Gove Airport.

This is the second longest stretch in history since the Bureau office opened in 1986 second only to the year 2014 when 104 days went by without any rain falling into the gauge.  If you wanted to find the next closest stretch that was this dry, you’d have to go all the way back to the year 1986 when 83 days went by without rain.

November is traditionally one of the driest months of the year averaging only 3.6mm and is part of the “build up” to the wet season, and it is not uncommon for the whole month of November to go by without any rain being recorded.  The years 2015 and 2016 were the most recent times when Gove had no rain recorded for November.

The reason for the likely drier than average start to the wet is because of two main factors.  The first is because we are currently in what’s known as a positive phase of the “Indian Ocean Dipole” which comes about when the sea surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean off northwest WA and the Top End are cooler than normal for this time of year.  Cooler than normal sea temperatures in this area usually results in less cloudiness and thus less rainfall during the early part of the wet season, however this IOD (Indian Ocean Dipole) should return back to neutral values by the end of the month.

The second reason, is a likely “El Nino” developing in the Pacific Ocean.  During an El Nino, much warmer than normal waters develop off the west coast of South America, while cooler than normal waters exist off the north Queensland coast, usually resulting in a drier than normal wet season for most parts of QLD and parts of the NT.

So, in a nutshell if it doesn’t rain before Thursday next week, it will be the longest dry spell on record since the met office opened in 1986.  Currently, the Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting only a very low chance of rain between today (November 20) through until Monday next week and a slight/medium chance of rain next Tuesday.

Cameron Hines
OIC Gove Meteorological Information Office
Bureau of Meteorology
PO Box 1396 Nhulunbuy NT 0881
Melville Bay Road, Gove Airport (Western Side) NT 0880
Tel: +61 8 8987 2477


Nhulunbuy shark attack victim’s friends recount ‘confronting’ experience as they worked to keep him alive

A teenager who was “mobbed” by sharks while spearfishing off the coast of Nhulunbuy was dragged to safety by a group of quick-thinking friends who stemmed the bleeding for a harrowing two hours until emergency services arrived.

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