Photos of Northern, Central and Southern Arnhem Land, Australia

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Northern, Central and Southern Arnhem Land

The island communities of Milingimbi and Elcho Island (Galiwin'ku) are home to people who collectively are called "Yolngu" and speak the related clan languages Gupapuyngu and Djambarrpuyngu. They are related to the people of the mainland of north eastern Arnhem Land, where the community of Yirrkala, near the mining town of Nhulunbuy (Gove) is the best known. This is a land where traditional life is still well and truly flourishing but where the Yolngu (Aboriginal) people are happy to share their culture with the outside world, as exemplified by dance groups that perform overseas and bands like Yothu Yindi from the north eastern Gove peninsula, combining contemporary music with ancient chants and dances.

Connair DC-3
 
Milingimbi Island
 
Galiwin'ku, Elcho Island
 
Old church, Elcho
 
Traditional
 
Billabong, Elcho Island
 
Paperbark trees
 
Elcho Island coast
 
Women of Elcho Island
 
On the beach, Milingimbi
 
Milingimbi children
 
Card game
 
Houses on the beach
 
Children playing
 
Mainoru river
 
Going hunting
 
Pandanus, Momob
 
Mularrmuli billabong
 
Fishing near Weemol
 
Weemol spring
 
In central Arnhem Land
 
Taking a break
 
Arnhem Land transport
 
Bush track
 
Ramingining store
 
Bulman River
 
Milingimbi
 
On Milingimbi beach
 
Children on the beach
 
Milingimbi beach
 
On the rocky beach
 
Playing cards
 
Drinking kava
 
Decorated grave
 
Weemol
 
Trampoline, Bulman
 

Arnhem Land, the huge Aboriginal Reserve at the Top End of the Northern Territory is home to people speaking a large number of different languages but often people are able to speak and understand often as many as five; and in Arnhem Land many of those languages are very different from each other. For example, in the far south of Arnhem Land, in the small communities of Bulman and Weemol, are speakers of Ngalkbon (or Dalabon), Rembarrnga and, because of links with Beswick and Barunga communities further south, Jawoyn as well.

Although no longer completely isolated because of (rough) roads, airstrips and solar powered telephones, people still live according to their traditions: ceremonies are still very important. Outside visitors are rare, as permits are required and transportation overland is by four wheel drive only. A rough bush road leads from Bulman, in southern Arnhem Land, north to Ramingining, a community in northern Arnhem Land, about 50 kilometres from Milingimbi. This is where the film "Ten Canoes", depicting life in the old days, was made.