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Located in the Kimberley region, the Shire of Halls Creek is one of Australia’s iconic outback regions with a unique cultural and heritage environment. Predominantly Aboriginal populations live in a number of remote communities around the district and the town site of Halls Creek.
The Shire of Halls Creek covers 142,908 square kilometres of the Kimberley is located approximately 2,850 kilometres to the North East of Perth and 362 kilometres south of Kununurra. The Northern Territory forms the Eastern boundary of the Shire with the Shire of Wyndham-East Kimberley to the North, the Shire of Derby West Kimberley to the West and the Shire East Pilbara to the South and West.
The remote communities of Balgo (Wirrimanu), Billiluna (Mindibungu), Mulan, Ringer Soak (Kundat Djaru) , Warmun (Turkey Creek) and Yiyili are an integral part of the district with around 3,000 people residing outside of the Halls Creek town site. Throughout the Shire there are a number of smaller communities.
The Region is connected by 391km of sealed roads and 1,449km of unsealed roads, which require extensive maintenance work due to seasonal flooding.
The Shire of Halls Creek is one of the four local government areas in the Kimberley Region of northern Western Australia, covering an area of 143,030 square kilometres (55,224 sq mi), most of which is sparsely populated.
The Shire's seat of government is the town of Halls Creek. Many Aboriginal communities are located within the shire. At the 2016 census Halls Creek excluding town Camps had a population of 1113.
The town camps include Lundja, Mardiwah Loop, Yardgee and Nicholson Town Camp and at the 2016 census has a population of 432.
Balgo, previously Balgo Hills and Balgo Mission, is a small community in Western Australia that is linked with both the Great Sandy Desert and the Tanami Desert. The community is in the Shire of Halls Creek, off the Tanami Road (formerly known as the Tanami Track). It has a petrol station, supermarket, Catholic Parish, Luurnpa Catholic School, Adult Education Centre, Clinic and Police Station. At the 2016 census, Balgo had a population of 359.
It is possible that the name Balgo is related to the Kukatja language word palkurr-palkurr, meaning rice grass, which grows on the hills at Old Mission, a former site of the community. Kukatja is the first language for many people at Balgo. Luurnpa Catholic School has published a comprehensive Kukatja dictionary, based on the work of several linguists. The school includes the Walkala Centre where audio books are written, recorded onto CD or DVD in both Kukatja and English and illustrated.
Billiluna (also referred to as Mindibungu) is a medium-sized Aboriginal community, located approximately 150 km south of Halls Creek in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia, within the Shire of Halls Creek. In the 2016 census, Billiluna had a total population of 150, consisting of 137 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Billiluna was established as a permanent Aboriginal community in the late 1970s by Indigenous people moving away from the Balgo mission to the Billiluna Pastoral Station. A major factor behind this was the transfer of the pastoral lease from a private company to the Aboriginal Lands Trust in 1978. The community became an incorporated entity in 1979 and the first houses and school were constructed in the same year.
Mulan is a small Aboriginal Community in Western Australia's east Kimberley. The Community is in the Shire of Halls Creek, 44 km to the southwest of Balgo and about 10 km east of Lake Gregory. At the 2016 census, Mulan had a population of 110.
Most Mulan people are speakers of the Kukatja language, which is also spoken at Balgo. Kukatja is closely related to Pintupi, spoken at Kintore and Kiwirrkura and many Mulan residents are closely related to people at those communities as well as at Balgo.
Mulan was established as a permanent Aboriginal community in the late 1970s by Walmajarri people moving away from the Balgo mission to the Lake Gregory Pastoral Station, near the shores of Lake Gregory. A major factor behind this was the transfer of the pastoral station from Lake Gregory Pty Ltd to the Aboriginal Lands Trust in 1978. The community became incorporated in 1979 and the first houses and school were constructed in the same year. In 1985, Crown Reserve 39102 was excised from the pastoral lease and vested to the ALT for the "use and benefit of Aboriginal inhabitants", with the Reserve being formally leased to Mulan Aboriginal Corporation the following year.
Warmun Community (also known as Turkey Creek) and Warmun are a township and locality in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, located on the Great Northern Highway, 3009 km northeast of Perth. The closest populated town is Halls Creek. At the 2016 census the population was 366.
The area was settled by European pastoralists in the 19th century but the community was established in 1901 when the state government built a ration depot at Turkey Creek.
The Ngalangangpum School was established in town at the request of the community. Built in 1979 the school allowed students to stay in town rather than attend St Josephs school in Wyndham and only come home over the holidays. The school was significantly upgraded in 1987, then again in 1990 so secondary schooling could occur in town and upgraded again in 2001.
Kundat Djaru is a medium-sized Aboriginal community, located 170 km south east of Halls Creek in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia, within the Shire of Halls Creek.
The primary language spoken is Jaru. At the 2016 census the population was 179.
The Kundat Djaru community consists of people displaced from the surrounding pastoral leases in 1967. These people were evicted from Gordon Downs Station between 1978 and 1981. The people then camped in Halls Creek and were given State Government assistance to move to Kundat Djaru which was made a permanent reserve in 1982.
Yiyili is a small Aboriginal community, located 110 km west of Halls Creek in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, within the Shire of Halls Creek.
Yiyili Community was established in 1981 with the purchase of Louisa Downs Station by the Louis Downs Pastoral Aboriginal Corporation. The community was developed on land excised from the Station pastoral lease. Louisa station, is still owned and operated by Yiyili community members under the Louisa Downs Pastoral Aboriginal Corporation.