Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963

Yirrkala artists, Dhuwa moiety.Yirrkala Bark Petition 14.8.1963 46.9 x 21 cm, natural ochres on bark, ink on paper House of Representatives, Canberra
Yirrkala artists, Yirritja moiety, Yirrkala Bark Petition 28.8.1963 46.9 x 21 cm natural ochres on bark, ink on paper, House of Representatives, Canberra

View petition transcript.


Bukudjulni gonga'yurru napurrunha Yirrkalalili .... The Humble Petition of the Undersigned Aboriginal people of Yirrkala … So begins the Yirrkala Bark petitions of August 1963 sent to the Parliament by members of the clan groups living in the area of Yirrkala. Written in both Yolngu Matha and English and presented on painted bark boards depicting country, the petitions protest the excision of land from the Reserve where they live, where they hunt and where their sites of significance are situated. Bauxite mining leases were granted and land excised without any consultation with the people of Yirrkala. Read the story of the Petitions and gain insights into the worry that people were feeling as the mining encroached on their land and their children's futures.

Thumb print documents

Gail Naden – Claiming Our Ground used under licence by the Commonwealth of Australia. Poster Copyright © Commonwealth of Australia 2013. Reproduced with permission of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
  • The 2013 NAIDOC Week theme was We Value the Vision: Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963. Read more on the NAIDOC website.
  • The Yirrkala Bark Petitions are cared for by the Department of the House of Representatives. Permissions for their reproduction are handled by that Department, through their Table Office. Further information is available on this website.