Junjuwa is a large Aboriginal community located alongside the town of Fitzroy Crossing. When it was built there was no real township of Fitzroy Crossing – there was a small hospital, police station and post office. The pub was also the store and depot.
After the 1967 referendum, pastoral managers left people at the old United Aboriginal Mission. Back in those days the government would fund these missions.
The Junjuwa settlement was first established in the mid 1970s. Government policies had led to the inappropriate grouping of tribes and language groups and many displaced people migrated to the edge of the Fitzroy River. Gradually this mix of language groups has changed so that the local Bunuba people are the majority inhabitants of Junjuwa Community.
In 1976 Judamarra was the first Chair of Junjuwa and Jo Brown was the Vice Chair.
It was tough in the early days but the Junjuwa community was strong. Community people would look after each other and would ‘chuck in’ $2 to cover funeral costs and medical costs if needed in the community.
The Bunuba residents build Junjuwa and there was 100% employment. Junjuwa was the first community to be built in Fitzroy Crossing with the first structured housing. Then Kurnangki and Billygoat Reserve (Mindi Rardi). This had a role-on effect with the development of Bayulu and Wangkatjungka when they moved back to their homelands in the 80s.
In the 1980s Junjuwa managed their own rubbish collection, a tip truck, Burawa shop, Mechanical Workshop, Maru Maru daycare, market garden, Gwardi Ngardi (old peoples home), bakery and clinic. In the late 80s and early 90s Junjuwa invested in a dialysis machine for sick people to ‘bring them home’ to country.
1988 was a big year; there was a big celebration for survival day and a celebration of Jandamarra. Also in 1988 Selenna, Chis Williams and Tommy May the Board made Leedl which Junjuwa own 40%.
The Junjuwa community started Marrala (named after a creek) Patrol bus which was like a taxi service / and sober up shelter to ensure people got back to a safe home at night. This then grew into Nindilingarri Cultural Health.
Junjuwa has felt the loss of CDEP (Community Development Employment Programs) and Housing Maintenance and would like to see a program similar to CDEP reinvested in to make communities strong again.
Our communities are alive and full of stories about how they came to be and why that place in country is important for health and culture.