Day 85. Nhulunbuy to Darwin

More footy fix today and a lovely way to spend our last day in Arnhem Land. There was a 2-day tournament being held in Nhulunbuy with teams from around Arnhem Land: Groote Island, Elcho Island, Gapuwiyak, Maningrida, Galiwinku and a combined Yirrkala team. The Elcho Island team were resplendent in the GWS kit; Kevin Sheedy had visited them earlier this year. Ben and I were going for Gapuwiyak and Yirrkala – the later were brandishing the hawk’s colours. I cannot tell you the results as it was a 2-day tournament and we flew back to Darwin in the evening.

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We had a very quick look around Nhulunbuy, the town is not that much just a mining town with beautiful beaches if you know which ones to go to, we did not and you need to have permits, as they are aboriginal land. There was beautiful wetland right in the middle of town and we went to a lookout on Nhulun hill. There is a memorial here to the Yirrkala bark petition of 1963. This really was the start of the land rights movement, and in 1968, the Yolngu people took their case against mining on their traditional land to the Supreme Court. Although the court acknowledged the Yolngu people had been living in the area for tens of thousands of years, the case failed. It did however lead to The Land Rights Act (NT) 1976 and reserved land was handed back to the traditional owners. At this time many Yolgnu moved away from the missions and back to the homelands.

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