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)
Nyinkka Nyunyu is an initiative of the Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation.
You can learn more about Julalikari below.
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.
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 has lots of knowledge about the different local artists and will help guide you through our shop. (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 has a range of traditional artefacts including spears, clapsticks, digging sticks, hunting boomerangs, and coolamans.
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 works document her intense knowledge of her land and it’s history. She came to pre-eminence with a series of works that recorded every aspect of 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. In 2006 she has been resisting her family history… the everyday occurrences from the 40’s to 90’s create an important social bi-line. Throughout her career Lindy has constantly returned to her Christian Biblical depictions, reflecting her strong beliefs again, 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 name is Cassandra, Paulina and Felishia. I like working at Pink Palace and I like doing arts work.
Clifford is in the Kadij 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 likes to paint to keep his mind of 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 acrylic on board, his work is large and bold depicting mainly his mother’s country.
Simon is a Tennant Creek Men’s Painting Group member, and his work confounds expectations of what Aboriginal Art is, and presents an intelligent artist approach. Simon is an outstanding performance artist, with his pieces being a work of action make a statement 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. Lots of his works has been exhibited and purchased by Regional Arts Centres and Galleries.
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 joining Jul in 2010 and likes painting.
Marcus is the youngest member of the Tennant Creek Men’s Painting group. He often works with paint on linen, sometimes on boards with symmetrical abstracts. His work is contemporary 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 work continue beyond the two dimensional support. He was a prominently featured artist in the King of the Roosters show.