Yirrkala 2017-12-08T13:37:13+00:00

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.

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. Pioneer Bark Painters from this region the national museum of Australia consider old masters include Mithinari Gurruwiwi, Birrikitji Gumana and Mawalan Marika.[6][7]

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.[8]

Heritage listings

One of the Wurrwurrwuy stone arrangements

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

Notable people


  1. ^ "Yirrkala". NT Place Names Register. Northern Territory Government. Retrieved 14 October 2018..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  2. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Yirrkala (SSC)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 13 October 2018. Edit this at Wikidata
  3. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Yirrkala (L) (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  4. ^ "Art Right Now2 - IndgRes". gallery.discoverymedia.com.au. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  5. ^ "Buku Art Centre". Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  6. ^ Old masters : Australia's great bark artists. National Museum of Australia. (1st ed.). Canberra, ACT, Australia. ISBN 9781921953163. OCLC 857187130.CS1 maint: others (link)
  7. ^ "Mawalan Marika | Yirrkala bark Painting | painting | sell Mawalan Marika painting". Aboriginal Bark Paintings. 18 October 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Yirrkala - East Arnhem Government" "http://www.eastarnhem.nt.gov.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=71&Itemid=150" [1]
  9. ^ "Wurrwurrwuy (Place ID 106088)". Australian Heritage Database. Department of the Environment. Retrieved 13 October 2018.

Coordinates: 12°15′10″S 136°53′30″E / 12.25278°S 136.89167°E / -12.25278; 136.89167

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yirrkala