Our new concrete Truck – ready to deliver

We had an old Purple Cement Truck we used to deliver concrete, lovingly called the “Purple People Eater”. Unfortunately it broke down earlier this year and the cost of repairs was going to be quite a bit – and it would still be an old truck which would have some issues. So we bought a newer (2nd hand) concrete truck a few months ago.

It got put to good use last week batching concrete for the two new houses that are being built in community. We’re very proud of our concrete crew and the great work they do!

Meetings with the Magistrate and the NT Administrator

It was a day of meetings for us on Tuesday. With Court in town, leaders of Yugul Mangi met with the Magistrate to talk about options for sentencing and what we can do to help offenders, particularly youth. With funding for Youth Diversion from NT Government, we’re aiming to develop a structured program that will help reduce youth offending, by engaging with those youth who do – and helping them re-engage around the issues that are leading to offending.

In the afternoon, several of our leaders met with the NT Administrator, HH Vicki OHalloran, who had come to visit Ngukurr. We spoke about many of the programs we’re engaged in and the challenges we face in service delivery in a remote Aboriginal Community – particularly proper community engagement and the need for infrastructure.

Local Bands play late into the night at Yugul Festival 2019

It opened with a friendly Footy match on Friday, followed by a bunggul and disco that got the kids dancing. Good dancers were awarded with prize vouchers they could spend at the store.

Saturday was filled with stalls from all the organisations in town. The school ran a BBQ and sold cupcakes, Sunrise Health told kids the importance of washing hands and even had CPR dummies out for practice, while the Rangers, Roper Council, Stronger Communities, and Selena Uibo had stalls with information and competitions.

With the pool open for those who wanted to cool off, Footy was being played on the oval, and the competitive Basketball games got underway in the rec hall. The traditional spear throwing competition was held during a pause in the games. Saturday night saw more bunggul, and after some late technical glitches which delayed the start, bands playing from 8 pm until 3 am in the morning.

The night opened with the Collins Sisters, Richard Collins, and the Bad Tees. New Boys Band from Utopia put on a show, followed by the Lonely Boys, T Lynx, Juram, Tax Man, Black Cloud, and finally Yugul Voice to finish the night. The temporary outdoor stage – a first in a while – was well received and the dancing pit was going off all night. The audio was noticeably better than previous years (which had been held inside the Rec Hall) and fire pits placed around the outside greatly helped those in need of warmth.

With everyone recovering from late night music, Sunday started late but soon got underway with finals for Basketball and Football. The winning teams and runners up were awarded their prizes, with medals for each of the players.

And finally it was another night of music, opening with the church group, before turning into an all night jam session for the bands, running until early the next morning.

Special thanks goes to all those who helped organise and run the Festival this year and those who came out to visit. We look forward to seeing you return for 2020.

Roadworks underway

We’ve been working with the Territory Government, the Department of Infrastructure Logistics and Planning (DIPL), and Roper Council to provide increased opportunities for Indigenous employment in our remote community. Often external contractors come to community, do the work, and leave – with little to no employment for local community.

This time though, we’ve hired skilled and experienced Civil Operators who are working closely with local community to skill them up, train them, and show them how to do some of this work themselves. As a result, we have been re-sheeting part of our own road, as well as fixing up the entrance road into Urapunga after the wet.

We’re very proud of our team and DIPL have been very impressed with the work they’ve done. We see this as a model that can be used going forward creating long-term employment opportunities for local community and ultimately reduced cost to the Government as contractors won’t need to bring so many external workers in.

CDP transitioning to Yugul Mangi

Yugul Mangi Development have been successful in winning the CDP tender for the Ngukurr and Urapunga communities. We’ve partnered with ITEC Group and IEN to help us deliver the program. We met with stakeholders currently engaged in CDP, including Roper Gulf Council, and CDP participants, to explain the changes and what that means for community.

The meetings went well and it was great to see so many people attend. We look forward to running CDP from July 1 and delivering local community based activities.

NT Iron Ore speak to community

Bill Mackenzie from NT Iron Ore was invited out to talk to community about NTIO’s plans for mining in the region. Bill spoke about the plan and what the company wanted to do.

Some community members had concerns about trucks on the road and the environmental impacts which were discussed. There are also good potential opportunities for jobs and ongoing employment related to the mine20190507_152828

The mine is a few years away yet and discussions will be ongoing.

Cherry Wulumirr Daniels laid to rest

Elder Cherry Daniels was laid to rest today in a ceremony attended by many from the region.

Cherry was born and raised in Ngukurr. As a child, her elders would take her out bush with them to practice their traditional ways. This was back in the missionary days when people tried to stop community passing on culture. Even speaking traditional language was banned at the School back in her time.

This didn’t stop Cherry. For her, “our leaders were strong. They didn’t let white people stop us from having our ceremonies. It is our identity.”

She was one of the few Ngandi speakers. It was important to her to pass this knowledge on so that it wasn’t lost. That’s why she worked for many years with the language centre and school, helping her mob regain their knowledge and pride in language and culture.

Back under the old CDEP program, Cherry started the rangers which became the Yugul Mangi Rangers. She worked with that mob, teaching the kids our traditional ways. She’d go out bush and teach what she knew.

She was very strong with culture and knew how important it was to pass on knowledge. She helped write books and did a lot of good work for our community.

It will be important to her that we remember our ways and where we’re from. We need to know our language and culture, so we can protect country. She was also very strong on ‘both ways’ education so our mob can succeed in both worlds.

The Government knew how important this was – which is why they gave her an Order of Australia Medal. This was in recognition of her service to her ways and her people.

Cherry dedicated her life to the advancement of our community and she will be sorely missed.