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.

Stronger Communities Workshop a great success!

The Strongbala Pipul Wanbala Bois Komiti held a 3-day workshop for the Stronger Communities Program in Ngukurr. They discussed the results of the Community Engagement Study they conducted last year and talked about all the things community members wanted to see happening in Ngukurr.

Community had a strong interest in language education at the school in both Kriol and traditional languages, with financial counselling and other potential activities discussed.

In May, they meet again to go through their budget and assign funding to each of the activities they would like to under-take as part of the Community Plan. We expect to see a lot of great things happening in Ngukurr as a result over the coming 18 months.

Rain finally reaches Ngukurr

Long awaited rains for the wet season have finally arrived in Ngukurr, with solid downpours of around 2 inches every day / night for the last 4 days. As a result, the dirt road in is wet and slippery.

Water is still well below the bridges so access is possible, but travellers are advised to be in a 4WD, with recovery equipment in the event they get bogged. Be advised you will be slipping and sliding through mud – especially on the worst spot of the road which is between the bridges over the Wilton and Roper Rivers. Driving at night is only recommended if you have spotlights as mud will splash and cover your headlights. Also be aware of animals on the road.

River Cruises *almost* ready to go

We converted one of our old Barges into a 24 seater boat for tourists. The surveyor came out today to do the final checks, with a stability test in the water. With 25 volunteers from community, we put the boat in the water and headed out for a stability test. Thankfully, all went well and nobody fell in.

We look forward to running the boat for our tourists who will be visiting in the dry season from May. Thanks to Daniel Keil of Keil Maritime who conducted the survey.