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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin

Barunga festival



Barunga festival is a celebration and showcase of remote Australian indigenous community life though music, sport and culture. The festival benefits the community of Barunga and the people of the region economically, socially and culturally.

Barunga is just 4 hours drive from Darwin. The festival officially began in 1985 in the remote Aboriginal community of Bamyilli. It is held annually on the Queen's Birthday long weekend in June. It was instigated by leader of the Bagala clan, Bagnardi Lee. In 1988, as the rest of Australia was celebrating 200 years of white settlement, Barunga was the site of Aboriginal leaders coming together, and presenting Prime Minister Bob Hawke with the Barunga Statement.

The Barunga Statement calls for Aboriginal self-management. Bob Hawke signed the statement in his visit to the festival, and said he would bring it before parliament. Sadly, he never did.

Today, every aspect of the Barunga Statement is as pertinant as the day it was written.

Hanging the Barunga Statement in Parliament House, Canberra was the last official act Bob Hawke did as Prime Minister in 1991.


Festival info
Office: (08) 8941 8066
Fax: (08) 8941 9066


Last updated: 14 November 2013
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