Yuendumu Community

Yuendumu is an Indigenous Community which sits on the edge of the Tanami Desert approximately 350 kms north west of Alice Springs. It is one of the largest Aboriginal communities in central Australia with a fluctuating population of approximately 1,000 Warlpiri people.



The Yuendumu School is composed of 260 student from Preschool to Senior Years. The team is made of both yapa (Indigenous people) and kardiya (non-Indigenous). 95% of the students speak Warlpiri as their first language.

Educational Governance

Educational Governance

The community met at Peace Park to develop the Community School Safety Program that is part of the activities supported by WCE to strengthen governance of local education governing bodies in Yuendumu.

About Yuendumu

The Yuendumu Community sits on the edge of the Tanami Desert approximately 350 kms north west of Alice Springs. It is one of the largest Aboriginal communities in central Australia with a fluctuating population of approximately 1,000 Warlpiri people. The Warlpiri are a strong spirited group of Indigenous Australians, whom speak the Warlpiri language and live on their traditional land in the Tanami Desert, north and west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.

The Warlpiri like to do things their way because it is well proven that local solutions developed and implemented by the Warlpiri leaders have worked the best for solving social issues. For this reason, Yuendumu is well known for its vibrancy, in which its infrastructure was forged by community driven initiatives resulting in the establishment of long-standing institutions in art, men and women culture, media, health, old people’s services, including a cutting edge youth program.

History of education

Since founded by the Baptist Mission in the mid-1940s, the Yuendumu Community continues to grow over the years, leading to a substantial enrolment of more than 200 children from childcare, pre-school, primary to post primary schooling. Currently, the Yuendumu Community is much focused on enhancing educational services through embedding education as a high priority across all strategic plans and programs rolled out at Yuendumu.

The educational aspirations of Yuendumu

WCE community-based staff work collaboratively across the community through talking, listening and engaging with local youth groups, parents, families, leaders, local stakeholders and educational institutions.

A set of strategic activities have been developed to enhance the educational journeys of all community members encapsulated through three key focus areas that aim to strengthen pathways from early childhood to higher education, including:

  1. Educational Governance
  2. Leadership
  3. Learning spaces

Jimmy Langdon engages the community on the value of education<br> Jimmy Langdon engages the community on the value of education

Community listens to Jimmy's address and postcast it<br> Community listens to Jimmy's address and postcast it

About the YEET team

The YEET team is made up of three Warlpiri senior leaders and two Warlpiri young leaders from the Yuendumu community who highly value education and believe that investing in education is critical to the community’s future. The team drew on local experience, implementing engagement activities that are known to be the most effective for residents of the Yuendumu community.

Male Mentor in Community Education Engagement

Jimmy Langdon’s work will reinvigorate senior leadership at Yuendumu through establishing a Warlpiri Senior Leaders Group. Drawing on the collective knowledge of the senior leaders of Yuendumu, local solutions will be devised to:

  1. Find ways to strengthen collective local decision making processes and;
  2. Develop pathways for Yapa employed in organisations to aspire to senior management levels.

Jimmy will also mentor the Education Team Leaders, specifically on engaging young males and females into education, especially at the Jaru Learning Centre.

Co-researcher and community facilitator/mentor in Education Engagement

Elizabeth Katakarinja’s work involves strengthening the Warlpiri Education Board (WEB) through conducting consultations directly with partners, parents, families of the Yuendumu community and local stakeholders on the proposed development of a Warlpiri Secondary College.

Elizabeth will also design and conduct the research activities in conjunction with co-Indigenous researcher Simon Fisher, Cultural Officer of Pintupi Anmatyerre and Warlpiri (PAW) Media and Communications.

Elizabeth is a very strong spokesperson on education at Yuendumu and will utilise her current role as Video Officer at PAW Media and Communications to broadcast on radio discussions with elders and youth on Indigenous pathways to higher education from a Yapa perspective.

Elizabeth will also work closely with Jimmy Langdon on the development of a Warlpiri Senior Leaders Group, encouraging senior women in the active role of leadership

Education team leaders

Both Cedric and Gabrielle worked collaboratively to build confidence in young people on the value education has to improving their life, their families and the community.

Many of the activities aim to attract young people to attend the Jaru Learning Centre but broader engagement activities will take place in hubs where younger people congregate, mentored by the Warlpiri mentors, Elizabeth and Jimmy.

Community Research Leader

Simon has been a researcher in his own right since the elders of Pikilyi, (Vaughan Springs of Mt Doreen Pastoral Lease) appointed him in 1997 to conduct research on the significance of Pikilyi to the Warlpiri people. He will lead the research in the community and mentor both Jimmy and Elizabeth in their research.

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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