Yungngora community consists of approximately 250 people and is located at the southern boundary of Noonkanbah station on the banks of the Fitzroy River. The community was established by two elders known as Friday and Ginger, and is home to other language groups as well as the Nyikina people.
Yungngora’s name comes from a billabong nearby. After the 1967 referendum governmental policies and lack of support saw many Aboriginal pastoral workers left in Fitzroy Crossing. Some left in their own right in protest against poor management, low wages, and poor living conditions on the stations. In Fitzroy Crossing Kadjina and Yungnora people moved to the middle and bottom reserves at the powerhouse. They never gave up the hope of one day getting back their land and finally Yungngora was established in the late 70s.
Noonkanbah operates as a 170,000-hectare cattle station – and in April 2007, the Yungngora people had their native title recognised. It runs 7000 head of cattle and 350 horses.
Kulkarriya Community School has approximately 75 primary and secondary students, six teachers and 12 Aboriginal staff. The students speak English as a second or third language, with Kriol, Nyikina and Walmajarri languages spoken at home.
The community also has a clinic. A Health and Aged Care (HAC) kitchen and office provides meals to the elderly and there is also a TAFE and community-building program as well as other facilities staffed by locals.
We spoke with Sam Costaine and Dicky Cox out at Yungngora. Born on Chunbun Station, Sam used to do a lot of station work like fencing on Milligidee. Bob MacCattee was the supervisor then. Dave Evan was the supervisor at Noonkanbah.
The community is well known for its’ land rights history. Years ago people of Noonkanbah protested strongly against mining, which took the multinational mining exploration company, Amax (backed by the Western Australian Liberal state government) two years before they could drill for oil on sacred land.
While drilling eventually proceeded; the determined fight of the local people inspired broad community support and raised Australia’s treatment of Aboriginal people on the international stage. You can read more here: http://www.solidarity.net.au/aboriginal/noonkanbah-when-aboriginal-people-and-unionists-united-for-land-rights/
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.