News about Aboriginal country and culture in Western Australia

05 September 2013

The YMAC blog has moved! Visit

The YMAC blog has moved to our newly updated website

Visit our new blog page for all the latest news and opportunities for Traditional Owners of the Pilbara and Yamatji regions, and to stay up to date with what's happening at YMAC.

While you're there, check out some of the new features of

11 July 2013

Nominate a mate for the 2013 WA Regional Achievement and Community Awards

WA's Regional Achievement and Community Awards recognise the individuals, groups and businesses from the Pilbara region who have made a difference in their communities.

Anyone can nominate or be nominated for one of the 10 awards covering a broad spectrum of community contribution. You can click here for more details regarding nominations.

Award winners will receive a $2000 Smart Access Account from the Commonwealth Bank.

Nominations close on July 23.

Entry forms are available through West Regional Newspapers, Commonwealth Bank branches or online.

08 July 2013

Celebrate NAIDOC week!

NAIDOC week is now well underway, and celebrations are happening all over Australia. The theme for 2013 is "We value the vision: Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963".  The theme proudly celebrates the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the Yirrkala Bark Petitions to the Federal Parliament. To read more about the significance of these petitions visit the official NAIDOC website.

There are a huge number of events going on across the Yamatji and Pilbara regions to celebrate NAIDOC this week. Check your local paper for a listing of events. Some highlights will be the Ngarluma & Yindjibarndi Foundation Ltd's football carnival in Roebourne this weekend, free community events featuring food and music in Karratha on Friday and Sunday, and the NAIDOC awards celebration in South Hedland on Saturday, to name just a few.

YMAC has already been celebrating NAIDOC, with stalls at the Tom Price and Perth opening ceremonies on Sunday, as well as last week's Bundiyarra cultural celebrations in Geraldton.

If you are in Karratha or South Hedland this week come say hello to YMAC staff at the community events on there.

Dawn service to commemorate 100 years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Veterans in Service. 7 July 2013

YMAC stall at Bundiyarra cultural celebrations in Geraldton. 3 July 2013 

26 June 2013

Last chance to nominate for the 2013 Deadly Awards

Applications are still open for the 2013 Deadly Awards, so if you know someone who is outstanding in the field of music, sport or the arts, or is simply an all-round community role-model, nominate them now!

The Deadly Awards recognise the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to our community, and provide national and local role models to inspire all Australians.

Time is running out, so click here to find out all of this year's Deadly categories, and here to lodge your nomination.

Entries close 30 June 2013.

24 June 2013

Wajarri Yamatji Liaision Officer wanted in Geraldton

Sinosteel Midwest Corporation Ltd (SMCL) are currently seeking a Geraldton-based Wajarri Yamatji Liaison Officer.

For details of the position and application requirements, please visit the SMCL employment page.

20 June 2013

Download YMAC News Issue 21

The latest issue of YMAC News is now available for download!

It features a cover story about YMAC's work with Yamatji and Pilbara Traditional Owners to digitally record their stories on film for the Indigenous Community Stories initiative. There is news about mining agreements made between the Yugunga-Nya people and Ventnor Resources; the Yinhawangka people, Rio Tinto and Dragon Energy; as well as Badimia and Top Iron.

You can also read about the proposed Nyangumarta Warrarn Indigenous Project Area (IPA) and the collection of the Nyangumarta people's knowledge and stories, facts on Preservation evidence, and the management of traditional country.

There is also information on YMAC's Community Liaison Officers, YMAC Directors, and new Co-Chair of the Board, Mr Victor Mourambine.

Click here to download YMAC News Issue 21 from our website, or browse earlier issues here.

We hope you enjoy this issue of YMAC news.

Nominations for 2013 Mid West NAIDOC Awards closing soon

Do you know someone who deserves a NAIDOC award?

Time to get those submissions in, as nominations for the 2013 Mid West NAIDOC Awards close 5pm tomorrow, Friday 21 June.

The annual awards recognise outstanding achievements made by Indigenous Australians to improve the lives of Indigenous people, or promote Indigenous issues in the wider community.

If you know someone in your community who deserves to be recognised for their contribution, complete a nomination form in one of the following categories:
  • Scholar of the Year
  • Male Community Service of the Year
  • Female Community Service of the Year
  • Apprenticeship Award
  • Musician of the Year
  • Artist of the Year
  • Hall of Fame
  • Male Elder of the Year
  • Female Elder of the Year
  • Reconciliation Award
  • Community Service Volunteer
  • Youth of the Year
  • Non-Indigenous Male Person of the Year
  • Non-Indigenous Female Person of the Year
  • Sportsperson of the Year
Nominations can be obtained from Laine-Rose Forsyth at the Geraldton Regional Community Education Centre by emailing

For more information about NAIDOC Week 2013, visit the NAIDOC website.

19 June 2013

Aboriginal writing workshop in Perth next week

Do you have a story to tell but don't know how to go about writing it?

The Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company will be holding a free writing workshop for the Aboriginal community next week in Perth with acclaimed author and editor, Amanda Curtin.

The workshop will be held 10am–1pm, Wednesday 26 June at the State Library of Western Australia. It is strictly limited to 25 participants, so RSVP now to reserve your place.

For more information and to register, contact Project Manager Irma Woods on (09) 9202 1966 or email

Click here to find out more about the Yirra Yakkin Theatre Company.

13 June 2013

YMAC Congratulates Les Hill for Works Showcased in 2013 Good Heart Art

YMAC would like to congratulate one of our Community Liaison Officers, Les Hill, for being chosen to exhibit his artwork in the 2013 Good Heart Mid-West Art Exhibition, which finishes up in Perth this evening.

His collection of pieces reflects the everlasting wildflowers unique to his home town of Mullewa and the Murchison River.

This has been Good Heart Art's sixth exhibition sponsored by Oakajee Port and Rail, and almost 200 pieces from over 50 new and established mid-west artists were showcased.
For more information on this year's event, visit the Good Heart website.

If you would like to know more about Les and other YMAC Community Liaison Officers, read our blog post from March this year

12 June 2013

Draft Terms of Reference for Native Title Act Review now open for Public Consultation

The Federal Government has announced public consultation on draft terms of reference for an inquiry by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) into certain areas of the native title system.

Under the draft terms of reference, it is proposed that the ALRC inquire into and report on the following two issues under the Native Title Act 1993 (the Act) that can significantly affect the timely and effective resolution of native title claims:
  • connection requirements relating to the recognition and scope of native title rights and interests, and
  • the identification of barriers, if any, imposed by the Act’s authorisation and joinder provisions to claimants’, and potential claimants’:
    • access to justice, and
    • access to and protection of native title rights and benefits.

Click here to read the full draft terms of reference.
The deadline for submissions is COB, Friday 28 June 2013 (EST). Comments can be sent:
Native Title Unit
Attorney-General’s Department
3–5 National Circuit

For more information on the review and consultation process, please visit the Attorney-General’s Department website.

07 June 2013

Seeing Stars SKA Art Prize 2013

When completed, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will be the world's largest telescope, giving astronomers remarkable insights into the formation of the early universe.

Under the joint hosting arrangements in the international SKA program, Australia will host the SKA’s survey telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO), which is on traditional Wajarri Yamatji country in the Mid West region of Western Australia.

In celebration of this exciting event, the Department of Innovation are holding Seeing Stars, a national art competition where artists are invited to create pieces which express the SPA's potential for discovery.

Artwork must be 2D, and based around one or more of the five ‘themes’ identified below:
• The birth of stars and galaxies
• The mysteries of dark energy
• Alien life
• The genius of Einstein
• Giant magnetic fields of space
Entries close 11:59pm AEST, Friday 5 July 2013.

The exhibition of winners and finalists will be held in early August at the Yarra Gallery, Federation Square, Melbourne.

For application eligibility requirements, visit the SKA website.

05 June 2013

First round of Community Development Fund grants now open

A new Community Development Fund (CDF) established by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) is offering grants up to a combined amount of $37.5m in 2013-2014.

The CDF has been established to support social and economic development across remote regions, and will provide funding for activities that benefit Indigenous communities as well as Indigenous and non-Indigenous jobseekers.

The application period for the first grants round closes at 5pm AEST on Friday 21 June 2013.

Please click here for the CDF application and eligibility guidelines.

31 May 2013

Happy Reconciliation Week from YMAC

YMAC would like to wish everyone a very happy Reconciliation Week, an event which celebrates the rich culture and history of the First Australians.

For more information on National Reconciliation Week, please visit

30 May 2013

YMAC welcomes newly elected Yamatji Chairperson: Mr Victor Mourambine

YMAC would like to welcome Mr Victor Mourambine, who has recently been elected as the new Yamatji Chairperson to our Board of Directors.

Victor is a Wajarri man from Northampton who has very deep ties to the region, and is grateful for the opportunities he has had to help his people.

He has a long history of working with the Aboriginal community, on the Commission of Elders at state and regional level, and through the Department of Justice helping prisoners. His work with Aboriginal prisoners earned him the Order of Australia.

Victor's work in native title is motivated by a desire to gain recognition for traditional owners. He wants to carry on the fight of elders who have passed before they were able to gain legal recognition of their country and culture.

To learn more about Victor's life and experiences of native title in Australia, please see the video below.

29 May 2013

Pilbara Traditional Owners Record Stories for Future Generations

click to enlarge
Photo: Toby Smirke with FTI film crew on Jurruru country

Earlier this month, Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) spent time on country with Traditional Owners from the Pilbara region of Western Australia as part of an initiative to record stories about Australia’s unique Aboriginal cultural heritage. 

Indigenous Community Stories (ICS), run by FTI in partnership with Rio Tinto, ScreenWest, Leighton and Ngarda Civil and Mining, aims to digitally archive one hundred West Australian Indigenous stories on film for future generations to view over the next century and beyond. 

In the first of these stories, Kariyarra elder Irene Roberts talks about growing up around Abydos and Kangan stations, as well as her life in the Yandeyarra community. The second story, told by Jurruru elder Toby Smirke, focuses on the working life of Aboriginal people on pastoral stations, his family, and Jurruru connection to country. 

Mr Smirke said that he enjoyed making the film. ‘By the end of it I was happy with how it worked out, and I think it was all done right’, he said.

These projects follow on from another ICS project that YMAC supported in February about Geraldton-based artist and writer, Charmaine Green.

For more information on the Indigenous Community Stories project, visit