East Arnhem Region
About East Arnhem
Nhulunbuy is the name of the town and Gove is the name of the peninsula where the town is located. The two names are used interchangeably. The township of Nhulunbuy is the hub for the region, with most regional services using the township as a base.
A permit is not needed to visit the town Nhulunbuy, but if you want to walk on its beautiful beaches, you do require a permit from Dhimirru. (See permits section)
Yirrkala and Gunyangara are very different to the ‘big smoke’ of Nhulunbuy. Mostly Yolngu live in these two communities. A NLC permit is required to visit, even if visiting the health centres. The exception is Yirrkala’s Art Centre. There are very few ‘services’ based in these two communities.
Yirrkala has a history of residents for 40, 000 years with the Methodists arriving somewhat later in 1935 to establish a mission. At the time of the mission being established, thirteen clans came together. All clans have at least one homeland centre, and many people live partly in Yirrkala and partly in their homelands.
Gunyangara was established in the late 1970s by Galarrwuy Yunupingu and his family. The people living in Gunyangara today are made up of twelve different clan groups from within the Miwatj region.
Far East section of Arnhem Land, 1,044km from Darwin
Indigenous Languages spoken:
The Aboriginal Interpreter Service uses local staff or arranges phone link-ups if no local interpreters are available. There is a cost for this service.
Yirrkala: Yolngu Matha (Gumatj, Dhuwaya, Galpu, Rirratjingu, Djapu, Djambarrpuyngu)
Nhulunbuy: Yolngu Matha (Galpu, Gumatj)
Gunyangara: Yolngu Matha (Gumatj, Galpu)
There are about 40 dialects of Yolŋu languages spoken in northeast Arnhem Land. Source
Winter/dry season (May-Nov) Cool & dry average temp 15-33°C
Summer/Wet season (Dec-Apr) Hot & humid average temp 22-40°C
For an accurate description of this region’s weather, see the Yolngu understanding of the weather pattern in East Arnhem Yolnu Weather
Nhulunbuy does not have a ‘council’ but it has Nhulunbuy Corporation. The Corporation is a public company limited by guarantee to manage Nhulunbuy, the nearby Industrial Estate and the Gove Airport in a similar manner to that of a local council. The Corporation employs a team of administrative, works and airport staff and is led by the Chief Executive Officer.
This link has information on the East Arnhem Regional Council that covers Yirrkala, Gunyangara link: Council Website
Federal electorate – Lingiari
Aboriginal land is privately owned. It is not Crown land, nor public land. Permission must be obtained in accordance with the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 before going onto Aboriginal Land. This includes access to tidal waters over Aboriginal land.
Northern Land Council: Milingimbi, Ramingining, Galiwin’ku, Gapuwiyak, Yirrkala, Gunyangara, Nhulunbuy, Numbulwar, Alyangula, Gapuwiyak
Allow > 10 days
Dhimurru: Recreation areas around Nhulunbuy (Gove) (all beaches and the look out)
Online, issues immediately. Some cost.
Aboriginal Health Controlled Organisations
Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation
Marthakal Homelands Health Service
Laynhapuy Aboriginal Community Controlled Health
NT Government Services
Gove District Hospital
Northern Territory Government: Primary Health Care
Top End Mental Health Service
Centre for Disease Control
Staying overnight and Local Attractions
Accommodation options on the peninsular
Gove Peninsular: Small kitchenette, used by the PHN MOICD outreach team. Phone: 89870700
Walkabout: Most common location to stay, restaurant and meeting room facilities.
East Arnhem Real estate: (holiday rental) Whole house
Dhimurru: part of the local land council’s facilities
East Arnhem Regional Council: Yirrkala, Gunyangara
Other accommodation ideas provided by Tourism NT
There are a variety of meeting rooms for different audiences in Nhulunbuy.
Things to do & see
- Walk on the beach before sunset (Dhimirru permit required)
- Overnight trip: Just offshore, an Island get away: http://www.banubanu.com/the-island
- Things to do: NTG Tourism: http://www.eastarnhemland.com.au/things-to-do
- Culture: Highly recommended cultural tours: www.lirrwitourism.com.au
- Art: Yirrkala Buku Larrangay Mulka Art Centre(permit exempt) www.yirrkala.com
- Festival: The annual Garma Festival of Traditional Culture www.yyf.com.au
- Art: Weaving tours to Mapuru www.arnhemweavers.com.au
- Music Festival: Yarrapay Festival https://www.facebook.com/YarrapayFestival/
NTGPE acknowledge and thank NT Primary Health Network (NTPHN) ntphn.org.au for providing the content for this community profile.