Videos of Aboriginal culture and events in the Northern Territory, Australia

Australian Aboriginal flag
Images of the World
Northern Territory flag

Aboriginal culture and events in the Northern Territory

Among the most spectacular manifestations of Aboriginal culture are the ceremonies and dances that are regularly performed in remote Outback Australia. There are cultural festivals like the yearly Sports and Cultural Festival in Barunga Aboriginal community near Katherine, but traditional dances are also often performed in the communities just for fun or celebration.

Yilpinyi singing in Lajamanu
Rodeo in Lajamanu
Welcome Dance in Lajamanu
Bamyili Dancers from Barunga
Learning to smoke
Dancers from Barunga: Final dance
Lajamanu women's dance
Warlpiri Purlapa in Lajamanu
Warlpiri women's dance
Commemoration ceremony
Traditional Arnhem Land dance
Dance from Barunga
Fun traditional dancing
Traditional Brolga dancing
Brolga dance, Barunga
Didjeridu competition
Small boys boxing match
Young boys boxing match
Teenage Boys boxing match
Boxing match, Barunga Festival
Borroloola boys dancing
Pintubi women dance
Pintubi girls dance

Lajamanu is a traditional Aboriginal community about 550 kilometres south west of Katherine on the edge of the Tanami Desert where its Warlpiri people strongly maintain their language and culture. This is illustrated here by the men singing a traditional "Yilpinyi" song cycle and dancing by both women and men. But as some of the men were employed in stock work, the Lajamanu Rodeo was a great success in the late seventies when these recordings were made.

Barunga, formerly Bamyili, is a community on Jawoyn land, about 80 kilometres east of Katherine; its community council also represents other traditional language groups: Dalabon (or Ngalkbon), Mayali and Rembarrnga from southern Arnhem Land. In the late seventies the "Bamyili Dancers" had acquired great fame and they were guests at the celebrations in Lajamanu when the Northern Territory achieved self-government on 1 July 1978. In 1985 the first Barunga Sports and Cultural Festival took place and this has grown over the years into one of the most important community festivals in regional Australia. There is sports, like football and boxing matches, and lots of informal traditional dancing as well, where everyone can join in.

Borroloola, just south of the Gulf of Carpentaria; it is the centre of the Yanyuwa Aboriginal people. In the year 1943, during the Second World War, an American bomber crashed in country to the east and the crew was found by local people. This event is depicted in song and dance in the "Aeroplane Dance"; it was made into a film fifty years later. The first evening young boys could dance, while the sound was being recorded and the following day the men were filmed.

Walungurru (Kintore) is in the Territory's Far West, the land of the Pintubi people 530 kilometres west of Alice Springs near the Western Australian border. The women teach the young girls their ancient dances, in the school grounds.