Yawuru mirlimirli scroll down for all the latest yawuru news

Warragarrji bud yinyjun – marlugarriny wula (Clouds are starting to appear – no rain yet)

Laja newsletter 2019

The 2019 Annual General Meeting

On 14th November, Yawuru welcomed community members to Liyan-ngan Nyirrwa for the Yawuru PBC Annual General Meeting. It was wonderful to host our community in our facility for the first time, and it added to the liyan of the event.

We thank the community for coming along to be part of this important annual review of the year’s projects, news and financial audit. Johani Mamid was re-elected to the PBC Board of Directors. Johani said he nominated again because “my passion for protecting and developing Yawuru is still strong”. We also acknowledge John Edgar and Martin Sibosado for their nominations and thank them for participating and contributing.

2019 has been a year of change which was reflected in CEO Peter Yu’s presentation of the updated corporate structure and discussion of the organisational change. However, there are a number of longer term projects coming to fruition, and having put the building blocks in place for the future, the Yawuru Corporate Group Boards are confident that Yawuru is in a good position to move forward for a prosperous future.

The evening was concluded with a shared meal in the gardens where everyone enjoyed performances from the Walalangga singers and the BGA Dance group with Anjo Phillips.

From the CEO’s desk

Ngaji mingan,

Gala mabu to everyone who joined us at the AGM. It’s always a great opportunity to let you know what’s been happening and to share our outcomes, and for us to get perspective across what has been a very busy year. As we look forward to 2020, we can see more activity that will continue to progress our development agenda which is beginning to bear fruit after more than 3 years of work.

We can be satisfied that our development strategy and corporate restructure have led to successes such as the opening of Liyan-ngan Nyirrwa and the formation of our joint ventures and partnerships. In 2020 we will continue our plans and ensure that our structure is able to move forward maintaining our Yawuru values and mission of mabu buru, mabu ngarrungunil a mabu liyan.

As you may have heard, I am taking on a new role at the Australian National University in Canberra as the Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Studies in July 2020. I will continue in my role as CEO of the Yawuru Corporate Group until May next year, in the meantime the NBY Board is drafting an Expression of Interest calling for suitably qualified Yawuru people to put their hand up for not only my replacement but also as part of an executive succession planning process. We are looking for leadership positions and will be advertising locally, nationally and globally as well.

With the recent recruitment of Shane Stewart as our new Chief Financial Officer, Greg Nankin our General Counsel and Company Secretary, together with Susan Bergersen Deputy CEO and Bruce Gorring as Manager of our Community Development Unit our Executive team is now complete. Rachael McGarry has also joined NBY as our Senior Legal Officer responsible for Native Title and Corporate Governance matters.


NBY moves forward with Broome Homemaker Centre proposal

NBY welcomes the decision by the Shire of Broome to conditionally advance to advertising our submission for a Structure Plan at the corner of Gubinge Rd and Cable Beach Rd East. This Structure Plan supports an application to re-zone part of the land for the establishment of the proposed Broome Homemaker Centre.

The Homemaker Centre will house a number of leading retailers and will service the growth of Broome by providing retail opportunities that make the town more attractive to families. NBY is proud of this proposal as an example of how Yawuru is playing a critical role in the development of Broome and its economy. These developments are deeply considered by the Yawuru boards and weighed against Yawuru values that define NBY’s approach to ensuring development is sustainable, meaningful and offers opportunities for Yawuru people in construction, training and employment. As a driver of long term income from Yawuru land assets, this project will underpin the critical cultural, community and on country-based activities and programs, which are delivered by NBY and others in partnership with government agencies and community groups.

The Broome Homemaker Centre is an important project for Yawuru and is part of NBY’s overall development agenda, and is an example of how an indigenous organisation can partner with larger corporate groups to provide a positive outcome for its community and also make a substantial contribution to the wider West Kimberley region by improving its infrastructure and services.

Following the Council meeting, NBY will supply further information requested by the Shire, and the Structure Plan will be advertised for public comment and feedback, before going back to the Shire for formal assessment in early 2020. This proposal and development process has been undertaken with the utmost rigour to ensure that cultural, environmental and social factors are taken into account in every aspect of the development.

We look forward to further discussions with the community about this proposal in 2020 and welcome any queries. Please contact our offices on 9192 9600 or visit us at 55 Reid Rd, Cable Beach.

Yawuru welcomes Edarrbur native title determination

The Edaburr (Rubibi #18) native title determination made by Justice O’Bryan in the Federal Court was welcomed by the community. Senior Yawuru members and the Yawuru named applicants were present in Perth on 4th November on behalf of the Yawuru native title holders, including Dean Mathews, Kevin Puertollano, Micklo Corpus, Thomas Edgar Yawuru PBC Chairperson and Ronald Wade Yawuru PBC Director.

Thomas ‘Unda’ Edgar, Yawuru PBC Chairperson said “After so many years of hard work we continue to fill in the gaps of our traditional estate. It made no sense to have small parcels of land left out, and so we’re very happy that Yawuru can now look after all of our country and look after the culture that has existed in that land since Bugarrigarra.”

The Edarburr native title claim covers a stock route, as well as current and former reserves within the Roebuck Plains pastoral release. The area is of high cultural, economic and social value for the Yawuru people, in particular a series of freshwater places (jilagarra) which Yawuru people have always used as stopping places.

Yawuru native title holders thanked the Kimberley Land Council for its support in development and success of the claim.

Environmental Services visit a Fenced Wildlife Sanctuary

In August a delegation of nine people travelled to Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary near Canberra to explore how a fenced wildlife sanctuary might work on Yawuru Country. The delegation has shared their experiences with the Yawuru community and gave a community presentation on how this project can offer Yawuru conservation, cultural, social and economic opportunities. There was strong support for the project at the community meeting, and encouragement to develop it to the next stage.

In Canberra the delegation was welcomed by Ritchie Allen, a Ngunnawal traditional owner, who gave his perspective on the cultural value that indigenous groups can bring to conservation and management programs. The delegation met staff and researchers and went on a great spotlighting tour at night to spy some of the threatened mammals within the sanctuary. They also met with the Threatened Species Commissioner and the Minister for the Environment in Canberra to discuss the proposal, which would be the first such haven in Northern Australia.

The Sanctuary would assist threatened species conservation, however there is rich cultural value for such a sanctuary and the project aligns strongly with NBY’s mission of Mabu buru, mabu ngarrungunil, mabu liyan (healthy country, strong community, and good feeling). The proposal may also open doors to other opportunities through potential training and employment and offer career pathways in science and conservation management for aspiring Yawuru students. The Sanctuary offers a new way to share the Yawuru story and enhance cultural knowledge, language and cultural ties with other Kimberley Aboriginal groups that share these animals. There are numerous economic development features that could enable tourism and other opportunites.

NBY will be seeking funds to develop this proposal, undertake a feasibility study to engage with organisations that can provide long term program support with mutually-beneficial partnerships.

Yawuru Youth Ambassadors to New Zealand

In October a group of Yawuru Youth Ambassadors jetted into New Zealand for a cultural exchange with Māori students at Te Puna Wanaka, a well-established Language Centre at Ara College in Christchurch that offers degrees in Māori language and culture and promotes bi-cultural teaching and practice. They were welcomed with a pōwhiri which is a Māori welcoming ceremony and enjoyed a hongi with their hosts.

The group, including Bianca Graham, Kara Farrell, Johnathan Pearson, Ethan Taylor, Tahlia Biggs with Chris Dragisic and Carol-Anne Bernard and Coordinator Rachel Lattimore, relished this opportunity to learn how others are promoting and revitalising language and to immerse themselves in Māori culture. They learned some Māori language and song, familiarised themselves with customs and cultural protocols of their hosts and sat in on classes on ecology and Māori history.

Bianca Graham said “This was a fantastic experience for us, as young people, to establish a cultural exchange focused on sharing cultural knowledge, developing an understanding of what we share between cultures and our experiences of colonisation. It was really inspiring to see their work on language revitalisation, connection to country and culture, understanding the issues related to intergenerational trauma and exploring ways of healing and creating change”.

The Yawuru Youth Ambassadors group strives to empower young Yawuru people and develop their future leadership potential. Sharing experiences, language and culture with other Indigenous people increases understanding and broadens their world view. Back on the ground in Broome, group will incorporate their learnings into their work to enhance NBY’s and other local programs focused on healing and social emotional wellbeing.

“We look forward to reciprocating the experience and are hoping to organise a possible from Māori youth delegates in the future” said Bianca, “We’d love to share concepts of Mabu Liyan, Mabu Buru, and Mabu Ngarrungunil with Te Puna Wanaka and demonstrate how they inform both Yawuru people and NBY as an organisation”.

Naomi Appleby shares her experience with the Encounters Fellowship

This year has been a huge year of learning for me in historical research and curating within the Mangara and Future Acts unit at NBY, which I am very grateful for. I was awarded a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with the National Museum of Australia Encounters Fellowship program which aims to increase the capacity of emerging Indigenous cultural practitioners and provides opportunities to see the behind the scenes of the museum world and their collections, conservation labs, research archives plus more.

Throughout the tailored 12-week program, five other Fellows from around Australia and I spent time in Canberra working on our individual community projects and visiting Museums and institutions. In October we flew to the United Kingdom and France where we visited galleries and museums, created networks and presented our ideas to partner cultural institutions. My project focuses on the first contact period and the Wanggajarli Burugun: We are coming home Yawuru ancestral repatriation project. During my placement at the British Museum in London and Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, I liaised with international curators and accessed collections from the Broome region. This journey really helped to make Yawuru history and experience clearer from the colonial perspective and gives us more knowledge on provenance research about our ancestors who were taken.

In Canberra I’m catching up with the other Fellows for the presentation of our community projects to the National Museum at the graduation ceremony. When it’s all done, I’ll bring my research back to my community and NBY so we can better understand what was happening during the era of explorers, pastoralists and pearlers coming onto Country 150 years ago. It’s important that we share the truth of the past so we can have closure and heal this shared history in the spirit of mabu liyan.

BASSA Community Open Day

On 5th November the Broome Aboriginal Short Stay Accommodation facility (BASSA) held a Community Open Day with entertainment, information and a signing ceremony between the partners that will continue work to improve facilities for the Kimberley Aboriginal community.

After a welcome by Di Appleby and a story from Edwin Mulligan, the Broome Girls Academy performed a dance with Ann-Jeanette Phillips. There was music, children’s entertainment and a smoking ceremony. People relaxed in the lush gardens at the centre of the facility and shared lunch.

BASSA is managed by MercyCare in collaboration with Centacare Kimberley, NBY and Nirrumbuk Aboriginal Corporation. Kuzi Sakupwanya, Manager Kimberley Aboriginal Short Stay Accommodation Place Based Services said “Through the cultural engagement that BASSA has had with NBY, we have formed a strong base for ensuring that cultural protocol and practices are observed at all times at the facility through the cultural immersion training that happens for all staff and our quarterly smokings with Aunty Di Appleby to ensure that guests’ spirits and wellbeing at BASSA are engulfed with the spirit of Mabu Liyan.”

NBY is proud to work with the partners on BASSA and it’s great to hear one guest comment to Kuzi that “My spirit feels good this morning”, illustrating the value of culture and liyan that make the place special for visitors to Broome.

Language conferences and workshop

Mabu Yawuru Ngan-ga held its first ever Broome Language Workshop from the 23rd to 25th October. The three day workshop was facilitated in collaboration with trainers from Living Languages , (previously Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity RNLD).

Living Languages have provided training in previous years to Mabu Yawuru Ngan-ga (MYN) staff but this was the first time they delivered the training by co-facilitating with MYN staff. We were excited to have trainers Amy Parncutt and Jess Solla from Living Languages working alongside our Walalangga facilitators Hiroko Shioji and Coco Yu in delivering the workshop.

The first day began with a Welcome to Country by Arnold Smith, a graduate of the Walalangga Yawuru Ngan-ga immersion course. We welcomed participants Lynley Juboy (Nyikina), Joel Killer (Walmajarri), Tara Spinks (Walmajarri), Sarah Green (Mangala), Linda Bidell (Yulparija), Carol Billycan (Yulparija), Judy Anne Edgar (Yawuru), Dalisa Pigram-Ross (Yawuru), Isobel Varney (Yawuru) with MYN staff Gina Albert and Maree Edgar. We also welcomed Gay Messer from the Department of Communications and Arts as an observer and a participant.

Judy Anne Edgar, Yawuru language teacher, Broome Primary School commented "I would like to do more of this, being able to network with other people and learning more linguistic terms. It was interesting and inspiring."

Following the successful Walalangga Yawuru Ngan-ga (WYN) immersion program 2016-2018, Hiroko and Coco shared strategies and teaching concepts from the WYN program while Amy and Jess shared skills and knowledge from a linguistic approach. One of the aims of the workshop was to target language learning using a variety of strategies already used in immersion schools, as well as linguistic study to help understand more of the complex linguistic information in our resources.

Dalisa Pigram-Ross, Yawuru language teacher, Cable Beach Primary School said "Such valuable time to spend with countrymen and women to share experience and gain knowledge from one another and our specialist guests. Knowledge that in turn feeds back into our communities and strengthen our languages."

It was an informative and productive workshop with participants indicating that they would like more opportunities like this, to be able to share ideas and learn from each other.

“It was a really good workshop. We need more workshops like this to get together and help each other.” Tara Spinks (Walmajarri language teacher), Lynley Juboy (Nyikina language teacher), Joel Killer (Walmajarri language teacher) and Sarah Green (Mangala language teacher), Looma Remote Community School

Taking Yawuru language international

Dianne Appleby is representing the Yawuru community at a number of events celebrating the International Year of Indigenous Languages. In November, Dianne attended the launch of ‘Jarrak: Our Languages Journey’ a living archive hosted by First Languages Australia and the University of Sydney Policy Lab.

Then in December Dianne will be heading to Samoa to participate in the speaker series for the UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019. The program, supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), features a busy schedule of activities over three days, including workshops with researchers and in schools, a university lecture and a reception with the local academic and cultural community as well as exploring other aspects of Samoan culture, such as literature, art and weaving.

Work and Training

Congratulations to Reikisha Skeen who has started work with the Broome Chamber of Commerce and Industry as Administration Assistant-Trainee. Kisha has quickly become one of the team and is already making a great impact in the business community.

CongratulationS to our littlest graduates

On 1st November, the HIPPY early childhood team helped the families and children celebrate a special occasion as the Age 5 group completed their two years with HIPPY.

For the special little people enrolled back in 2018, their journey came to an end as they successfully graduated the program. Our 8 HIPPY kids were presented with their Certificate and a little “starter pack” for school as a thank you for their participation and engagement. The parents also received an honourable mention for their valuable part in the program. The journey was an experience enjoyed by all. While we say goodbye to our exiting families and children, we also look forward to our current Age 4s transition into their final stage of HIPPY.

As the HIPPY program continues to grow, our aim is to work further with a new cohort of 25 families in 2020. If you’d like to know more about HIPPY, please contact Kamissa at NBY on 9192 9600.

What’s happening at

Liyan-ngan Nyirrwa?

The Liyan-ngan Nyirrwa Cultural Wellbeing Centre has been busy with a huge variety of events in the last few months. It was great to hold the Yawuru AGM in our own venue. Other events that we have hosted include the Closing the Gap Forum, ISWAG workshops over 3 days, and a wonderful morning tea for our community Elders.

The gardens around our Mabu Mayi Café were brightened up with beautiful hand painted shorebirds from ‘FlockOz’.

We have some great Christmas gifts available at the Mabu Mayi Café – tasty Broome produce, keep cups and our 2020 Yawuru seasonal calendar


WEDNESDAY 11th December 2019


Liyan-Ngan Nyirrwa Cultural Wellbeing Centre at NBY - entrance at Bernard way.

  • BBQ Food & Drinks provided
  • Bouncy Castles
  • Activities
  • Special appearance from Santa & More….

Cultural immersions FOR 2020

NBY Office closure Monday 23rd December until Monday 6th January