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Northern Territory
Ngukurr is located in Northern Territory
Coordinates13°44′00″S 134°44′00″E / 13.73333°S 134.73333°E / -13.73333; 134.73333Coordinates: 13°44′00″S 134°44′00″E / 13.73333°S 134.73333°E / -13.73333; 134.73333
Population1,056 (2011 census)[1]
Location636 km (395 mi) SE of Darwin
LGA(s)Roper Gulf Region
Territory electorate(s)Arnhem
Federal Division(s)Lingiari

Ngukurr is a remote Aboriginal community on the banks of the Roper River in southern Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. A number of different clans and language groups are represented in the town, with Kriol being the main language spoken. Collectively, indigenous peoples in the Roper River area refer to themselves as Yugul Mangi, and the Yugul Mangi Aboriginal Corporation works closely with the Roper Gulf Regional Council to provide services and economic opportunities in Ngukurr and surrounding areas.[2]


The town was originally settled by the Church Mission Society in 1908, known then as the Roper River Mission.[3] The mission moved to the present site of Ngukurr in 1940, following a major flood. The government took over management of the town in 1968.[4]

Notable people[edit]

Phillip Roberts was a resident of the Roper River Mission (now Ngukurr) and his biography became an award-winning book, I, the Aboriginal, by Douglas Lockwood.[6]

Actor and musician, Tom E. Lewis, grew up in the Roper River Mission before moving into acting with his role in the film The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith. His mother, Angelina George, also grew up in the Roper River Mission and, along with her sisters, became a renowned painter.[7]

Dexter Daniels made significant contributions to the 1960s movement to award Aboriginal stockman equal pay, a movement that was further highlighted by the famous Wave Hill walk-off.[8]

Reverend Canon Michael Gumbuli Wurramara (AM) became the Northern Territory's first Indigenous Anglican priest in 1973 when he became rector of St Matthew's Anglican Church in Ngukurr.[9]

Cherry Wulumirr Daniels received a medal of the Order of Australia in 2016 for service to her community.[10] Her career included working as a teacher and educator, leading a local women's ranger group[11] and teaching her traditional language of Ngandi.[12]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Ngukurr (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 17 January 2015. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "Yugul Mangi Development". Archived from the original on 20 January 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Ngukurr". NT Place Names Register. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-23. Retrieved 2015-01-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ John Sands, The New atlas of Australia Sydney : J. Sands, [1886]
  6. ^ "Biography - Philip Roberts - Indigenous Australia".
  7. ^, Leon Wilson - Chop Art -. "CooeeArt Since 1981".
  8. ^ Australia, National Museum of. "Collaborating for Indigenous Rights Home".
  9. ^ "Natural, fair-minded leader of people". Sydney Morning Herald (June 14, 2010). Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  10. ^ "Nine Indigenous figures in Queen's Birthday Honours List".
  11. ^ Salleh, Anna (7 July 2016). "Way of the water lilies: Where science meets the billabong".
  12. ^ "Future of endangered Indigenous language rests with youth". 16 April 2017.