Our family’s history in education

Our family, the Ngurruwuthun family, has been dedicated to education in our region since Europeans first arrived in East Arnhem Land at the beginning of last century.

We are the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of Wonggu Mununggurr, a visionary warrior who guided our people through the difficult period of white settlement from the 1920s to the 1950s and Dula Ngurruwuthun, a ceremonial specialist who understood the power of knowledge in all cultures and whose vision for education and our homeland inspire us to this day.

For centuries before, our people had interacted with the Macassan traders of south east Asia. This proved to be very helpful during the white settlement period, as our people, the Yolgnu already had developed ways of thinking and living around different cultures, without being overwhelmed by them.

Wonggu and Dula, were determined their family would survive and prosper despite the massive changes our people faced during settlement.

They made sure their children were educated in European knowledge as well as our traditional knowledge so they would be able to navigate a path through both worlds in the future.

The value of knowledge and education followed on through the generations of Wonggu and his son-in-law, Dula, to the next generation with Ms Ngurruwuthan becoming principal and leader of our bilingual education system for decades until her passing in 2016. Now we are doing our best to be true to that vision.

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Today our family is just as committed to education as Wonggu and Dula were.

Watch the Knowledge Water Story

In our culture, water, or ‘gapu’, represents the knowledge of the Yolngu people. And now we want to share that knowledge with you.

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