Nyinkka Nyunyu is an initiative of the Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation.
our sacred site
This is a region where many dreamings criss-cross the country, one of the important ones is the Jalawarla (black nose python) and our people had many big ceremonies for this one. There are the two butterfly sisters, the two bush coconut women (the Kantaji women’s) and the flying fox man (pitangu) the group of dancing women, the moon man who was chasing them.
Our precinct is on the site of the Nyinkka. The crow was in love with Nyinkka and it is a torrid love story but it is here that she emerged and here her spirit returned and is there for eternity.
Warumungu lands cover a huge area, three or four different kinds of country. From mangkurru (plains), to wangarri (hills) and purnukurr (swamp country). In the summer we’ll go swimming! Roughly the boundary would be about 100 k’s kankurru (south) of here to karlu karlu (Devils Marbles). Then you go kajunu (north) about 120 k’s, 250 k’s kakuru (east). Not too far karu (West), pretty much right here. Warrego is the boundary. The area is not that wide, but there’s a lot of diversity. And it’s rich, our manu (Country).
In 1995 the Warumungu community of Tennant Creek decided to initiate the development of an art and cultural centre, Nyinkka Nyunyu, which opened in 2003.
After several years of consultation, research and discussion five key themes were decided upon to make up the backbone of the interpretive display for the centre. They were: Bush tucker and resources, Country, Language, History and Punttu (or family).
first contact history
On the 26th of June In 1860 in week 17 of John McDouall Sturt’s expedition to cross Australia they turned back to Adelaide after a resistance attack with the Warumangu people at a creek called Yijjiriminti which he named Hayward Creek. “…they were confronted by about thirty warriors who shouted at them, threatened them with boomerangs and set fire to the grass around them. Stuart tried to appear friendly but noticed even more warriors emerging from behind the bushes. After a couple of volleys of boomerangs, one of which hit Stuart's horse, the three men opened fired... They had no option but to retreat southwards with the warriors following them some way, yelling and setting fire to the grass... Stuart decided that night to abandon the expedition and return to Adelaide. He knew that his party was too small to cope with their wily adversaries.” (Source ABC)
Jimmy is a Warumungu man who has many personal stories connected to the exhibitions in our museum. He is the site’s cultural liaison and events facilitator, one of the tour guides on site, with great knowledge about the regions history and culture. Jimmy is a gifted artist and craftsman, with many of his artefacts available in our shop.
Jerry is well known for his featured ranch in Tennant Creek where he used to offer the ultimate outback experience of horseback riding and exploring some of the bush foods and medicines available on country. Jerry has remarkable cultural knowledge and is the head tour guide for the centre and will be training younger people in the profession. He has over 10 years experience hosting tours for diverse people, from disability tours to billy tea and damper for the elderly. Jerry is famous for his kangaroo tail and damper cook ups for the Barkley Arts Festival each year. Book in your tour with him here.Waru
Joseph Williams is a Warumungu man and artist. He is a master carver who has a long experience of traditional and modern carving and sculpture in Tennant Creek. He started to practice carving with his grand father when he was a teenager. He reinvents the traditional objects such as boomerang, clapping sticks or coolamon using hard wood. Lots of his works has been exhibited and purchased by Regional Arts Centres and Galleries. You can buy some of his work at our shop or go on a guided tour with him around our site.
Nathaniel is the amazing grounds keeper for the centre. He is a local man and we love having him on the team.
Caz ‘mumma roo’
Our local wildlife expert Caz is often seen feeding little joeys with milk or being a friendly face at the front desk of Nyinkka Nyunyu. She is well versed in the history of the region, can share many anecdotal insights and knows many of the local artists. Cazz is the public liaison officer for Nyinkka Nyunyu and will help inform and guide you through our shop. She is also a talented healer and volunteers with the local vet as an assistant in Surgery. (Bella is the superstar pictured above).
Erica is the coordinator of Nyinkka Nyunyu and loves facilitating the amazing talent of the team. She is an artist, curator and researcher who has been working in the Aboriginal art Industry for 30 years. She’s been with Nyinkka since early 2019.
Born in Alice Springs in 1991, Dion Beasley is an Alywarr artist from the remote community of Owairtilla, also known as Canteen Creek. Dion spent many of his early years living in remote communities in the Barkly region of the Northern Territory before relocating to Tennant Creek. Being profoundly deaf Dion has experienced many challenges throughout his life but has developed a great passion for drawing, which has served as a means of communication with others. Dion is well known for his Cheeky Dogs brand. You can enjoy his many books, Cheeky Dog Plush toys and other merchandise. Read more
Jimmy Japarula Frank
Jimmy is one of the staff of Nyinkka Nyunyu and a skilled artisan working with wood. He produces a range of traditional artefacts including spears, clapsticks, digging sticks, hunting boomerangs, and coolamons. He began carving as a young man taught by his uncles and he is now passing on the skill to the younger generation.
Born in 2973. Lindy has been painting with Julalikari Arts since 2003, and before that at Jukurrpa Arts in Alice Springs. Her life is closely linked to the Barkly Region and her work documents her intricate knowledge of her land and its history. She came to pre-eminence with a series of works that recorded the building of the Alice Springs- Darwin rail link through her country. Her depiction of the rocky spinifex country that she lives in is truly evocative. She also paints everyday occurrences throughout her life creating an important social bi-line. Throughout her career Lindy has consistently painted Christian Biblical stories, reflecting her strong beliefs emerging from her childhood station-life religious instruction.
Hello My Name Is Heather Anderson. I was born at Alroy Down Station and I got three children, their names are Cassandra, Paulina and Felishia. I like working at Pink Palace and I like doing arts work. Heather’s style is decorative and detailed and expresses the fertile countryside after rains
Clifford belongs to the Kayetetye language group, his mother’s country is Karku Karlu (Devil’s Marbles) and his father’s country is Jarrah Jarrah. Clifford’s interest in art began as a boy at school doing chalk drawings on small blackboards. Clifford is a keen worker and likes to paint to keep his mind off his problems and assist him to steer away from alcohol. Painting is also a way for him to connect with country and remember his ancestors. Clifford preferred medium is enamel on board, his work is large and bold depicting many aspects of country, mainly his mother’s country.
Simon is a Tennant Creek Brio member, and his work confounds expectations of what Aboriginal Art is and presents an intelligent and expressive artistic approach. Simon enjoys working at an edge and can be understood as an outstanding performance artist. His action paintings continue to evolve and he has recently begun painting on new materials including old TV screens making statements that would lend themselves to a stage. His work capture remarkable incidents in time.
The late Peggy Jones was regarded as one of the more experimental artists working in the Northern desert region. Originally she started painting canvases in the classic 'dot and circle' style in 1996. She had various artist residencies at Batchelor College and Northern Editions Print Making Workshop at the Northern Territory University in Darwin where she produced lithographs, two-plate etchings and silkscreen works. Her work is now in many national and international collections. Peggy described herself as ‘an artist all of the time’.
Flora was a popular artist for Julalikari Arts and Crafts (Nyinkka Nyunyu). We are proud to have a wonderful selection of her works still on sale. Flora’s works continue to attract attention and acclaim for their whimsical approach and extraordinary colour application. She was born at Brunette Downs Station and lived there most of her life she worked as a cook and cleaner. She was a Wambaya women who lived among the Warumungu women. She had one son and one daughter and was known for her participation in Women’s dancing (Yawulyu).
Joseph Jungarayi Williams
Joseph Williams is a master carver who has a long experience of traditional and modern carving and sculpture in Tennant Creek. He started to practice carving with his grand father (Apurtu) when he was a teenager. He reinvents the traditional objects such as boomerang (Kayin), clapping sticks or coolamon (Purnu) using hard wood. He has recently been experimenting with installation and video work, along with being a member of the Tennant Creek Brio, a collective of artists who have been exhibiting together since 2016. His work is in numerous private collections.
Natasha was born in Alice Springs and went to school at Tennant Creek High School. She moved to Tennant Creek when she was 15. Nathasha has two children, two girls named Gwendolyn and Griselda. She joined the Julalikari group of artists in 2010 and likes painting her country and its abundant bush foods.
Marcus is the youngest member of the Tennant Creek Men’s Painting group. He often works with oil on linen, sometimes on boards, with large abstract grids. His contemporary style is powerful and minimalist which expresses his mystical and other worldly personality. Marcus’ work is intriguing in how he intuitively alludes to other dimensions within the work. His structures and portals continue beyond the two dimensional support. He is a prominent member of the Tennant Creek Brio, an exciting artist collective which grew out of a painting project in a men’s therapy group at the Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation.
Fabian is the most well known of the Nyinkka men’s art collective - The Tennant Creek Brio. Fabian’s artistic output is prolific, highly imaginative and powerful. His graphic line work has a residual immediacy and conjures a concoction of mythological figures and motifs referencing various characters from the Old Testament, the Dreaming, Greek mythology, mythological beings and beasts. The works emanate a palpable raw energy and at their best contain the prophetic resonance of oracles.