Barunga, also known as Bamyili, is in the Nyirranggulung Ward and is located 80 kilometres south-east of Katherine on the Central Arnhem Road

Quick snapshot


Approximately 337 people reside in Barunga with a median age of 26 years old (Census 2021)


The people of Barunga speak Kriol, Jawoyn, Dalabon, Maiyali, Mangarrai and English


Barunga Council Office: Lot 198, Barunga NT 0852

Phone: (08) 8977 3200

Barunga Postal Address: PMB 25, Barunga NT 0852

Barunga is in the Nyirranggulung Ward and is located 80 kilometres south-east of Katherine on the Central Arnhem Road. Barunga may also be called Bamyili. 

View of town from lookout
Barunga community


Commencing production in 1913, the Maranboy Tin Mine, located eight (8) kilometres from Barunga ceased its operation in 1945. It was at this time that the Indigenous people who serviced the mine relocated back to Beswick Creek, or Beswick (current site of Barunga).  In 1951, due to the large influx in the population in Beswick, the Northern Territory Government began developing Beswick through building basic housing infrastructure and creating employment opportunities.

By 1965, Beswick had grown to such a size that an additional Camp was formed. This Camp was named Bamyili by the Elders and in 1984 the name was changed to Barunga.

Barunga is home to the Barunga Festival, a much-loved Territory festival that attracts more than 4000 fans – Indigenous and non-Indigenous people – who celebrate together in the small community.

Over the years, the festival has grown in popularity and is now recognised as one of the most significant Indigenous cultural events in Australia. It features a range of activities, including traditional dance and music performances, art exhibitions, workshops, sports competitions and cultural talks.

Man playing didgeridoo on stage
Image: Tourism NT/Peter Eve

The Barunga Statement

The Barunga Statement is a document created in 1988 at the Barunga Festival. It was signed by the then Prime Minister Bob Hawke and is a statement of commitment to Indigenous rights and self-determination. The statement calls for the recognition of Indigenous land rights, the establishment of a Treaty between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and the implementation of a national policy of self-determination for Indigenous Australians. The statement is seen as a major milestone in the struggle for Indigenous rights in Australia. Yothu Yindi went on to write the worldwide hit “Treaty” as a result of this gathering at the Barunga Festival.

The Barunga Statement was the result of years of discussion. The document was painted by several artists who represented different Traditional Owners across Northern and Central Australia.

The lefthand side of the statement was painted by Yolngu men and shows their distinctive cross-hatching style. The panel is split into three panels with each section depicting Dreaming stories from across north-east Arnhem Land. The stories included (from top to bottom) are Crocodile Fire Dreaming of the Madarrpa people of the Blue Mud Bay area, the Crocodile Fire Dreaming of the Gumatj people of the Caledon Bay area and the Whale Dreaming of the Trial Bay area.

The right half of the document was painted by Arrernte and Warlpiri men from Central Australia and uses their well-known dot-painting style. Their side depicts the Two Women Dreaming – a story that links the major language groups of Central Australia. The painting shows women meeting at two sites in the Northern Territory with the middle section depicting the women coming together to exchange gifts and carrying the story on through their country.

Information source: Barunga Fest

The Barunga Statement
The Barunga Statement 1988


By road, the trip to Barunga takes approximately one (1) hour from Katherine on an all-weather road. The single lane Central Arnhem Highway is sealed to the gateway of Barunga. Barunga may also be accessed via chartered small aircraft. It is approximately five (5) kilometres from the Barunga Airstrip to Barunga Community.

Please be advised that Barunga is a closed community; a Northern Land Council (NLC) permit is required to visit this community.


Local Authority

An integral part of the community consultation process in Barunga occurs through Barunga Local Authority Meetings. The Local Authority is made up of the Elected Member/s who sit on Council for the Nyirranggulung Ward and are nominated representatives from the community. All stakeholders in Barunga are invited to attend the Local Authority Meetings. The resolutions made at these meetings form the basis of all planning made by Roper Gulf Regional Council.

To attend a Barunga Local Authority Meeting, click here

To view our Local Authority Meeting dates, agendas and minutes, click here



This information is sourced from the Northern Territory Government and is available on BushTel

Service Type Available Details
Regular Transport Service Yes

Bagala Remote Community Bus

(08) 8922 2666

Katherine Coaches

(08) 8971 0774)

Fuel No Fuel is available at Beswick, Mataranka and Katherine
Commercial Accommodation No Commercial accommodation is available at Beswick, Mataranka and Katherine
Community Store Yes

Barunga Community Store

(08) 8975 4507

Airstrip Yes Bamyili Aerodrome (unsealed) (3km from the community)
Health Centre Yes

Primary Health Care delivered by Sunrise Health Services

(08) 8975 4501

Alcohol  No

Alcohol Protected Area and a General Restricted Area

Police Station No

Serviced by Maranboy Police Station (8km from the community)

(08) 8975 4500

School Yes

Barunga School

(08) 8975 4502

Council Service Delivery Centre Yes  Council Office located at Lot 198, Barunga NT 0852
Mobile Phone, Internet & Radio Yes There are currently two public telephones in Barunga and also Telstra 3G telephone and internet coverage. Digital television is connected to all homes and local radio is provided through the Remote Indigenous Broadcast Services (RIBS)
Post Office Yes Post Office located at Council Service Delivery Centre
Early Childcare Centre Yes The Barunga Crèche is run by the Barunga School at Lot 245
Aged Care Centre No