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Yirrkala Gardens and Banana Farm

2009 November 15
by rachel

This garden story was provided to the RIG Network in August 2009, through the RIG Network story. If you have a garden story, please fill out the survey by clicking here.

Yirrkala is a well-known community in East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, 18 km South-East from the large mining town of Nhulunbuy. It has a population of about 800 people, of whom nearly all are Yolngu and also acts as a regional centre for a further 800 people living in surrounding indigenous homelands.

Yirrkala Gardens is a commercial farm run by Bunuwal Industrial (Bunuwal Industrial  phone 08 89873433) a local indigenous company. Soane Wainiqolo lives in the Yirrkala community and has worked in the Yirrkala Gardens for 6 months in 2007/08.

Yirrkala’s Gardens and Banana plantations began in the early 1960′s under the Methodist Mission Board and is now run by the Bunuwal Association.

Garden participants are paid CDEP wages and the produce is distributed by selling to the nearby communities and mining town (Nhulunbuy) per order.

The growing season in Yirrkala runs from Jan-Mar and Nov-Dec each year and the garden relies upon irrigation from dam and billabong water to grow banana, pawpaw, lemons, cassava, sweet potato,

Yirrkala gardens don’t currently include any bush tucker.

According to Soane, Yirrkala is a successful commercial project which only needs better marketing and to diversify into other produce. There is also plenty of water available which is the key to the farm.

3 Responses Post a comment
  1. Kate Kirton permalink
    March 23, 2010

    wow! its great to read about yirrkala, i grew up in nhulunbuy, & remember visiting yirrkala, i even rode a wild horse through the banana plantation with my friend angela simmons! so nice to be taken back to such a special place. great work:)

  2. June 10, 2010

    Hi, just wondering if you are coming into town either today or tomorrow. The Surf Life Saving club is having a weekend away at Little Bondi this weekend and we are trying to organise the menu. Kevin Stanaway from this office bought a good size box from you about a week ago and I was wondering if I could purchase 2 boxes of about the same size (about 40 kids). If you could let me know if you’ll be in town, that would be great.

    PS We are down at Catalina Ramp

  3. Rebecca Hardwick permalink
    January 24, 2011

    I am one of the Registered Nurses at Miwatj nhulunbuy, working in the clinic. Just saw the delivery of bananas, thankyou….could you tell me if you are open Saturdays? I would love to get some papaws and limes, but i cant find your phone number…..

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