365 Places: Nhulunbuy

Day 40: Nhulunbuy, Northern Territory, Australia

I have only visited Nhulunbuy once, when I was invited to take part in a workshop with the Northern Territory Library, where for two days, a range of skills in technology were shared with some of the local Yolgnu people.

The RIPIA (Remote Indigenous Public Internet Access) workshop explored a range of skills and tools including, documenting artefacts, video, iPad educational tools, online conferencing and more.

Nhulunbuy is on the Gove Peninsula of the Northern Territory, and located at the far north of Northeast Arnhem Land, also being home to the Yolngu Aboriginal people for at least 40,000 years.

The region has a complicated history, which is worth learning about. One very interesting fact is the Maccassans were trading with the Yolgnu people for many centuries as was discovered by Matthew Flinders when he circumnavigated the Australian mainland in 1803. Another very interesting fact was that in 1963, a government decision excised part of the land for a bauxite mine. The Yolngu people at Yirrkala were strongly opposed, and forwarded a bark petition to the Australian House of Representatives, which attracted national and international attention and which now hangs in Parliament House, Canberra.

This article Journey goes full circle from Bark Petition to Blue Mud Bay by one of the signatories, Wali Wunungmurra is testimony to the strength, commitment and passion of the Yolgnu people.

Dancers from the Blue Mud Bay region of north-east Arnhem Land sing in celebration at the annual Garma Festival of Traditional Culture. Image Credit: ABC https://i2.wp.com/www.abc.net.au/news/image/475930-3x2-940x627.jpg

Dancers from the Blue Mud Bay region of north-east Arnhem Land sing in celebration at the annual Garma Festival of Traditional Culture. Image Credit: ABC http://www.abc.net.au/news/image/475930-3×2-940×627.jpg

Here is a photo of one of the petitions, from an article on the ABC website titled The seed for land rights: Yirrkala Bark Petitions

It is a place of great natural beauty, and one that is high on my list as a place I would like to see again. Perhaps next year I will head up to the Garma Festival, which would be amazing.


Tracey M Benson is a lover of travel, having a diverse background as an artist, writer and researcher. Working with online environments since 1994, Tracey's experience includes providing digital media, web and social media solutions to government, non-profit, private industry and tertiary sectors. Her focus is on sustainability behaviour change and the use of communications and emerging technologies to empower community and build culture.

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