Wow what an experience so far. The first week was induction week.

We spent a large amount of time learning about indigenous culture.

We met with many organisations in the East Kimberley area, mostly not-for-profits who look to help indigenous organisations move forward.

I must say I feel slightly overwhelmed today. We’ve had many people talk to us and although I’ve learnt a lot about them and the area surrounding Kununurra, I feel as though it’s all mush in my brain and I haven’t retained anything.

One of the things that became abundantly clear was that the aboriginal people are striving towards a better community and want governments to be committed to supporting a “hand up not a hand out”.  A video clip that describes this vision clearly is titled Swimming the River.

Some of the issues facing indigenous communities stem from a lack of education. In the 2011 census approximately 40% of indigenous people completed year 12, however for remote areas this drops to 21%[1].

Key facts:

  • Kununurra comes from the word Gunanurang in the Miriwoong language which means “big river”.[2]
  • In 1972, the Argyle Dam was built which formed Lake Argyle.
  • Lake Argyle is usually about 15 times bigger than Sydney Harbour and swells to about 25 times bigger in the wet season.
  • The surrounding areas in Kununurra are largely used for agriculture as the land is very fertile.
  • The most common plantations are cotton, melons, mangoes and sandalwood.
  • Sandalwood grows on a host tree and takes approximately 20 years to get a return.[3]
  • Argyle diamond mine (owned by Rio Tinto) is built on indigenous land so is subject to native title rights. Most of the diamonds are used in industry and not for jewellery although it produces approximately 90% of the world’s pink and red diamonds.[4]







Simone Ladaby

Project and Internet Channel Manager

RAC Insurance