Gurindji people

The Gurindji are a group of Indigenous Australians living in northern Australia, 460 km southwest of Katherine in the Northern Territory's Victoria River region.



Gurindji are generally best known in the broader Australian community for The Gurindji Strike, led by Vincent Lingiari, in 1966.

Native title

The Gurindji people of the Northern Territory are best known for their walk–off of Wave Hill Station in 1966, protesting against mistreatment by the station managers. The strike would become the first major victory of the Indigenous land rights movement[1]. A small part of their traditional lands (roughly 3,236 square kilometres (1,249 sq mi)), subsequently known as "Daguragu Station" was handed back to them in 1975[2] as a Northern Territory pastoral lease, by the then Australian prime minister, Gough Whitlam– paving the way for further land rights victories in Australia.

In 1984, after a hearing under the Aboriginal land Rights Act, NT, 1976,[3] and 1981 recommendations made by the original Aboriginal Commissioner, Justice John Toohey,[4] they were granted inalienable freehold title to almost all of the area originally transferred back to them by Whitlam, 3,250 square kilometres (1,250 sq mi) of their tribal land. A final small portion of the Daguragu lease was recommended by the later Commissioner, Justice Maurice, in 1984.[5] Much of Wave Hill pastoral Station (some 13,500 square kilometres (5,200 sq mi)), however, remains in non-Indigenous hands.

Gurindji people share many similarities in language and culture with the neighbouring Warlpiri people.

Two Gurindji communities are Kalkaringi and Daguragu. The Daguragu Community Government Council provides municipal and other services to the township and surrounds of Kalkaringi (formerly Wave Hill) and to Daguragu, a community settled on land under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

The township of Kalkaringi is 260 hectares. It was gazetted as an open town in September 1976 (hence permits are not required for residents or visitors). Kalkaringi is located on the Buntine Highway, which runs between Top Springs, NT and Halls Creek, Western Australia.

Daguragu is located 8 km north of Kalkaringi via a bitumen road. Permission from traditional owners, through the Central Land Council, is required to visit Daguragu. Daguragu became the first cattle station to be owned and managed by an Aboriginal community. It is still owned and managed by the Murramulla Gurindji Company.

The Council also services a number of outstations where traditional owners reside. Traditional owners belong to the Gurindji language group. There are also other residents of Daguragu and Kalkaringi who belong to other language groups, including the Warlpiri. The population of Daguragu/Kalkaringi is approximately 700 people.

In August every year, a large celebration is held at Kalkarinji to mark the anniversary of the strike and walk-off. Known as Freedom Day, people gather from many parts of Australia to celebrate and re-enact the walk-off.

See also

Alternative names

Norman Tindale lists the following names:[6]

  • Korindji
  • Guirindji, Gurindji
  • Garundji
  • Koorangie

Notable people



    1. Turpin, Myfany, (2019). Songs from the stations : Wajarra as sung by Ronnie Wavehill Wirrpnga, Topsy Dodd Ngarnjal and Dandy Danbayarri at Kalkaringi. Meakins, Felicity. Sydney: Sydney University Press. ISBN 9781743325858. OCLC 1089228854.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
    2. Lewis 2012, p. 291.
    3. McConvell, P and Hagen, R., A traditional land claim by the Gurindji to Daguragu Station
    4. Gurindji land claim to Daguragu Station: report / by the Aboriginal Land Commissioner, Mr Justice Toohey, to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and to the Administrator of the Northern Territory. Australia. Office of the Aboriginal Land Commissioner, 1981/2
    5. Gurindji land claim to Daguragu Station: Further report to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and to the Administrator of the Northern Territory / by the Aboriginal Land Commissioner, Mr Justice Maurice. Australia. Office of the Aboriginal Land Commissioner, 1984
    6. Tindale 1974, p. 229.


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