Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Yuendumu NT


Postcode: 0872

Yuendumu is a town in the Northern Territory of Australia. It is one of the largest towns in Central Australia, after Alice Springs and Yulara and has a thriving community of Aboriginal artists. Yuendumu lies 293 km northwest of Alice Springs on the Tanami Track, and is a community largely made up of the Warlpiri Aboriginal people, with a population of 706. The Community Council governs an area of 22,242 square kilometres which includes numerous outstations.

It was established in 1946 by the Native Affairs Branch of the Australian government to deliver rations and welfare services. In 1947 a Baptist mission was established there. By 1955 many of the Warlpiri people had settled in the town.

In the early 1980s the Yuendumu Warlpiri elders painted ceremonial designs on canvas, which begun the art movement at Yuendumu. The first painting there was on the door of the Yuendumu school, painted by Paddy Japaljarri Stewart and Paddy Japaljarri Sims, who are some of the most well known artists at the community. In 1985 the Warlukurlangu Arts Association was founded at Yuendumu.

Warlpiri elders founded the Mt Theo Program which has become a model for substance misuse prevention in remote Australian communities.

The town is quoted in the Midnight Oil song Beds are Burning (from the Diesel and Dust album): Four wheels scare the cockatoos/From Kintore East to Yuendemu.