The name Groote Eylandt was bestowed on the 3rd largest island in Australia by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 and means ‘Great Island.' The people who live here think it’s great too.
The predominantly indigenous communities of Umbakumba, Milyakburra and Angurugu are home to a combined population of approximately 1500 people. Like many Australian communities there are homes, schools, shops, clinics, police, recreation facilities, businesses, cultural centres and festivals (the ‘One People One Voice festival’ takes place in August each year). Some family groups choose to live outside of communities on outstations to remain close to their traditional clan lands.
Located at the port, the township of Alyangula houses a largely non-indigenous population that services the mine and other operations. Schools, clinics, health facilities, recreation facilities, a tourist resort and an enviable community atmosphere, make this seemingly quiet little port town very liveable. It’s hard to believe that just down the Rowell Highway is one of the largest manganese mines in the world.