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Title: Lajamanu  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Raining animals, Warlpiri people, North Tanami Band
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Lajamanu is a small town of the Northern Territory in Australia. It is located around 557 kilometres from Katherine and approximately 890 kilometres from Darwin. At the 2006 census, Lajamanu had a population of 669, of which 92 percent are of Aboriginal origin.[1]


The town is a strongly traditional community, and is governed by the Lajamanu Community Government Council as well as a local tribal council. The Lajamanu Council was formed in 1980, and was the first community government council to be formed in the Northern Territory. On cultural matters, the council defers to the local tribal council, because traditional customs are still practised and generally dominate the thinking of the community.


The majority of Lajamanu residents have Warlpiri as their main heritage language. Lajamanu School was a Warlpiri-English bilingual school from 1982 until 2008[2] when the Northern Government introduced a policy banning Warlpiri language instruction for the first four hours of every school day.[3] This has contributed to a significant drop in attendance at Lajamanu School since 2009.[4][5] It has been reported that young people now speak Light Warlpiri as a first language.[6] Most official business and education is delivered in English.

Geography and climate

The Northern Territory is a dry area. Lajamanu is located close to the centre of Australia, which has a hot climate.


Lajamanu is difficult to access, mainly due to the distance from major cities and towns. Road access is via the Victoria Highway (turning off after 120 kilometres) onto the Buntine Highway for a further 323 kilometres and then 104 to Lajamanu (a dirt but well formed road).


Warlpiri people have a long history of creating art on wooden artifacts, the body, the ground and rocks. Walpiri art was used for ceremonial and teaching purposes, a feature of art in Lajamanu. Lajamanu artists began using canvas and acrylic paint in 1986 following a traditional paintings course held in the community.[7]

Today, the artists in Lajamanu continue to paint using canvas and acrylic paint at the community's Peggy Rockman Napaljarri, Lily Nungarrayi Yirringali Jurrah Hargraves, Rosie Murnku Marnku Napurrurla Tasman and Molly Napurrurla Tasman have all painted at the gallery.

Lajamanu artists have been finalists in the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. [8]

Notable people

Steve Jampijinpa Patrick is an educator and has also been involved in the Milpiri festival and collaborations with Bush Law about the relationship between traditional Warlpiri law and the mainstream Australian justice system.

Contemporary Indigenous Australian artists from the Lajamanu region include Sheila Brown Napaljarri and Peggy Rockman Napaljarri.[10][11]


External links

  • Community Website
  • Warnayaka Art Gallery

Coordinates: 18°20′13″S 130°38′17″E / 18.337°S 130.638°E / -18.337; 130.638

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