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Ninuku regionWestern Pitjantjatjara Lands: Ninuku Arts


Artists working with Ninuku Arts come from Kalka and Pipalyatjara communities in the western part of the "APY Lands" in the far north of South Australia. The descriptions below of the communities follow closely the text from the APY Lands Website.

These two communities, fourteen kilometres apart, are surrounded by the Tomkinson Ranges and are part of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, to which freehold title was granted in 1981.

Kalka and Pipalyatjara each have populations of around 100-150 Anangu (‘people’ in Pitjantjatjara) and are serviced by a school, TAFE, clinic and the Ninuku Arts. The language of this part of the Lands is Pitjantjatjara. ‘Ninu’ is the bilby, an important part of the area’s Tjukurpa (dreaming).

Map of APY communities including Ninuku


Kalka Community is located in the far Northwest of South Australia, just a few kilometres from where Western Australia, South Australia and Northern Territory meet. It is approximately 490 kms from Alice Springs and is the largest community west of Amata in the APY Lands.

Kalka is the administrative and residential centre for Pitjantjatjara Homelands Council (PHC), an incorporated Aboriginal organisation. PHC grew out of the Aboriginal homelands movement of the 1970s when Anangu left the missions and government settlements to the east and west and returned to their traditional country. Many Anangu had been brought into or were attracted into these settlements during the 1950s and 1960s when the Australian Government ran atomic bomb and rocket tests at Woomera and Maralinga.

Kalka was originally planned as a resource centre for surrounding homelands but by the early 1990s it had developed into a small Aboriginal community with the full range of housing, infrastructure and service needs.

The population of Kalka is around 150 Anangu fluctuating up to 200 depending on season and circumstances. The homeland areas, covering approximately 4,000 square kilometres, continue to be of central importance culturally as well as being a resource for tourism, mining and other development.

On the road between Kalka and Amata


Pipalyatjara is a small Anangu community located 15 kms south of Kalka. A local store provides for Pipalyatjara and Kalka communities. Pipalyatjara was formerly known as Mount Davies after the highest local peak. The semi-precious stone Chrysoprase was mined at Pipalyatjara until recently. The town's population is approximately 140-150 people.

In 1971 a small group of people moved 190kms west of Amata (a large established settlement) to a place called Puta Puta, 24kms to the east of what was to become Pipalyatjara. The group was made up of a number of old men who had traditional ties to the area and responsibilities for various totemic sites. By 1975 there were 33 people at the Pipalyatjara Camp. This movement of the Anangu west, into their homelands, was one of the first movements of people out of the church and government settlements back into the country of their grandparents.


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