The West Arnhem Land area around Gunbalanya is known as Stone Country, a name inspired by the spectacular Arnhem Land escarpment and rock formations that emerge from the floodplains surrounding the town. With a population of around 2000, Gunbalanya is located on escarpment outcrop area close to East Alligator River. The main language for the region is Kunwinjku. It is a significant area of three escarpment rocks which is situated within the community outskirts area. The three landmarks represent 3 different totems which are;
- Wurrkarbal – Fresh water Gar-Fish
- Ngalmarniyi – Long neck turtle
- Arrguluk – Magpie Goose
The township of Gunbalanya was first settled by the pioneering Paddy Cahill, who established a farm in the region in the early 1900s. A mission was later established in the 1920s. today Gunbalanya has a population of approximately 1200, and the main language spoken is Kunwinjku.
The main road link out of Gunbalanya to Jabiru (and on to Darwin) is often closed during the wetter months as the East Alligator River becomes impassable.
We have a significant partner in Injalak Arts, a non-profit Aboriginal-owned social enterprise. The Art Centre in Gunbalanya was officially opened in late November 1989. Prior to 1989 its origins were in a small shed used for screen printing. The building that houses the various functions of the Art Centre is long and flanked on either side by covered verandahs. The artists and weavers work on either side of the building. Indigenous community art centres play an important role in the artistic and cultural life of traditional Aboriginal artists living in remote communities. Injalak Arts is an outstanding example of a community organisation that is 100% Aboriginal owned and delivers positive social, economic and cultural outcomes for its members.
A big opportunity for the community include working with the Northern Land Council, School, Health Clinic and West Arnhem Regional Council to develop a BMX track that would encourage bike repair/maintenance workshop. We have a strong focus for improving health and nutrition in community through education.
Our Key Community Partners
- Njamana Rangers
- Gunbalanya Community School
- West Arnhem Regional Council
- Adjumarllarl Aboriginal Corporation
- NT Health
- Injalak Arts Centre
- Gunbalanya Sports & Social Club