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Bukudjulni  gonga’yurru  napurrunha Yirrkalalili …. The Humble Petition of the Undersigned Aboriginal people of Yirrkala … So begins the Yirrkala Bark petitions of  August 1963 sent to the Parliament by members of the clan groups living in the area of Yirrkala. Written in both Yolngu Matha and English and presented on painted bark boards depicting country, the petitions protest the excision of land from the Reserve where they live, where they hunt and where their sites of significance are situated.     Bauxite mining leases were granted and land excised without any consultation with the people of Yirrkala.  Read the story of the Petitions and gain insights into the worry that people were feeling as the mining encroached on their land and their children’s futures.  

Image: Image of one of the Bark Petitions
Image: Image of one of the Bark Petitions

Yirrkala artists, Dhuwa moiety.Yirrkala Bark Petition 14.8.1963 46.9 x 21 cm, natural ochres on bark, ink on paper House of Representatives,  Canberra

Full Resolution Image / Petition Transcript

Yirrkala artists, Yirritja moiety, Yirrkala Bark Petition 28.8.1963 46.9 x 21 cm natural ochres on bark, ink on paper, House of Representatives, Canberra

Full Resolution Image / Petition Transcript

Image: Image of one of the Bark Petitions

The 2013 NAIDOC Week theme is We Value the Vision: Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963. To read more about the Bark Petitions as the 2013 NAIDOC Week theme, see the NAIDOC website

Gail Naden – Claiming Our Ground used under licence by the Commonwealth of Australia. Poster Copyright © Commonwealth of Australia [2013]. Reproduced with permission of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

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Please note this website contains images and other references to deceased people which may cause sadness or distress, particularly to the relatives of these people

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