Working together

  Fishing nets washing up on the rocks

Yolŋu rangers work together to clean up marine debris on Northeastern Arnhem Land beaches.[5] Photo: Andrew Blake

The Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation was established by Yolŋu land-owners in 1992 to work collaboratively for sustainable management of their lands. As a means of achieving this, Dhimurru aims to "investigate avenues for incorporating western science-based management practice within traditional resource management". [1]

In August 2006 Dhimurru launched Yolŋuwu Monuk Gapu Waŋa, a Sea Country Plan that:

"1. Lets everybody know what sea country means to Yolŋu and explains how Yolŋu look after sea country, both in keeping with traditions and through contemporary work at Dhimurru.

2. Makes clear the concerns Yolŋu have for their sea country and its management.

3. Suggests to others with interests in Yolŋu sea country how Dhimurru can work collaboratively for sustainable management in ways that respect and acknowledge Yolŋu rights and interests and those of other users." [2]


Warning this video contains the voice and image of deceased people.

Singing: Father of Marrayinga Marika 2 and brother of Dr R. Marika.

Narration: Nanikiya Munuŋgiritj. Video courtesy of Dhimurru Land Management ©1999. Produced by Burrundi Pictures. [3]

One of the many projects that Dhimurru are working on is a turtle tracking and recovery program. Yolŋu are sharing their knowledge of turtles with scientists, while, at the same time, much new information is being gathered. The tagging of turtles with satellite transmitters is helping researchers to monitor turtle movements and identify threats to their survival. [4]

A big surprise for all involved has been the discovery that tagged Green turtles do not migrate beyong the Gulf of Carpentaria. This means there is an optimistic outlook for the survival of this species, with its management being largely in the hands of Australian Indigenous peoples and conservation authorities.

1. Sea Country, Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation website, Accessed March 2008
2. Goals and Objectives, Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation website, Accessed March 2008.
3. A copy of the video can be purchased from Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation.

4. Further reading: Kennett, R and Munuŋgiritj, N (2001). Travelling turtles, many peoples, one big history: indigenous management of sea turtles in northern Australia. In: Proceedings of the 21st Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Conservation and Management, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA (in press)
5. Further reading: Wise, P. and Mununggurr, M., "Imagine life as a Marine Turtle", Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation website,