Gunbalanya Indigenous Community



Also known as Oenpelli, Gunbalanya is a large Aboriginal town situated about 60km north east of Jabiru, across the East Alligator River in Arnhem Land

Gunbalanya youth perspectives on Education

Gunbalanya youth perspectives on Education

The Film project aimed at providing opportunities for students to celebrate their educational achievements and share their journeys with others.

About Gunbalanya

With a population of around 2000, Gunbalanya is located on the flood plain and escarpment outcrop area close to East Alligator River. The main language for the region is Kunwinku. It is a significant area of three escarpment rocks which is situated within the community outskirts area. The three hills represent 3 different totems which are;

  • Wurrkarbal – Fresh water Gar-Fish
  • Ngalmarniyi – Long neck turtle
  • Arrguluk – Magpie Goose

The area around Gunbalanya is known as Stone Country, a name inspired by the spectacular Arnhem Land escarpment and rock formations that emerge from the floodplains surrounding the town.

The township of Gunbalanya was first settled by the pioneering Paddy Cahill, who established a farm in the region in the early 1900s. A mission was later established in the 1920s. These days Gunbalanya has a population of approximately 1200, and the main language spoken is Kunwinjku.

The main road link out of Gunbalanya to Jabiru (and on to Darwin) is often closed during the wetter months as the East Alligator River becomes impassable. The town is, however, serviced by a tarmac airstrip.

Gunbalanya School also operates in Gunbalanya, providing schooling from preschool to Year 12. The town also has a youth centre, arts centre, supermarket, service station and licensed community sports club.

Local industry

Injalark arts provide an opportunity for young and old artists to participate and also tourism opportunities with lots of visitors during the dry season. The ILC Abattoirs sells local meat to community and also surrounding communities. Gunbalanya Economic Development Aboriginal Corporation was set up by Traditional Owners for future business in Gunbalanya. Demed services the homelands.Gunbalanya has ARPNet research team members based in town.

Gunbalanya organisations include; West Arnhem Shire, Demed Aboriginal resource centre, GEDAC (Traditional owners), ILC Abattoir’s, Gunbalanya School, Gunbalanya Health Clinic, Gunbalanya Sports and Social Club, Ardjumarllal Store, Injalark Art Centre, Ardjumarllal Rangers and Njarnma Rangers, ArramunbuChild and Family Centre, Police Station and Community Night Patrol.

29 November 2017

Team Member Reflection: Terry Moore

Team Member Reflection: Terry Moore

​I joined the team in April 2016, just in time for the team meeting at Tennant Creek, where it was realised that the team needed someone to analyse the data that was being generated across the different communities.

Charles Darwin UniversityAustralian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges & EducationBatchelor InstituteNAILSMANTG

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