Country, Culture, People, Future

May 2020

National Sorry Day an important part of healing

Posted: May 26th, 2020

Today is National Sorry Day and on this day YMAC acknowledges and recognises members of the Stolen Generations for their collective strength in enduring inflicted grief, suffering and loss.

National Sorry Day is important to YMAC as an organisation because it acknowledges the history and resilience of the Stolen Generation people.

In the late 19th Century, 1950’s and 1960’s Aboriginal children were forcibly taken away from their families and brought up in institutions or fostered to non-Aboriginal families. This removal was an official government policy in Australia until 1969.

Federal Parliament tabled a motion on 26 May 1997 (from recommendations from the Bringing Them Home Report) that a National Sorry Day be celebrated each year.

National Sorry Day is part of the healing process for our communities. At YMAC we strongly support a return to physical, emotional, spiritual and cultural well-being for all Aboriginal people – today and every day.

Recognition is a big part of the healing. YMAC encourages ALL Australians to take time to recognise our Stolen Generations today.

More information:



World Turtle Day – 23 May

Posted: May 23rd, 2020

On World Turtle Day®, Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) acknowledges the Nyangumarta Ranger Program that monitors the endangered flatback turtle at the Ramsar site, Eighty Mile Beach.

There are 16 Aboriginal rangers who jointly manage the Marine Park Reserve with the Department of  Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and the Karajarri Traditional Owners. The work engages Aboriginal rangers on Country to participate in long-term data collection and monitoring of the species.

During the November to January turtle breeding season, six kms of the beach is monitored. The rangers mark the night nests, do a daily track count and egg count in January. This helps to determine if the turtles are being affected by humans and feral predators.

Threats to this species include direct harvest for meat and eggs, entanglement in fishing gear, destruction of nesting beaches from coastal development, pollution and destruction of feeding habitat (coral reefs and shallow nearshore areas). Dingoes and foxes once posed a significant threat to their nests but thanks to predator control programs, this threat has been greatly reduced.

The flatback turtle is named after its flat carapace, or shell, which is unlike the curved shell of other sea turtle species. In comparison to other sea turtles that lay 100-200 eggs per nest, this species lays an average of 50 per nest.

Special online film viewing – CONNECTION TO COUNTRY: The Pilbara

Posted: May 22nd, 2020


You are invited to a special online film event run by FILEF, which highlights the importance of Connection to Country in the Pilbara region.

CONNECTION TO COUNTRY: The Pilbara is about the fight of the Pilbara region Aboriginal people to protect their sacred sites.

The Burrup Peninsula (or Murujuga), in the Pilbara region, holds the largest concentration of rock art in the world, dating back over 50,000 years. It is an ancient landscape, so sacred that some parts shouldn’t be looked upon by anyone, except Traditional Owners.

In the film, Director Tyson Mowarin shows how he and the people of the Pilbara are fighting back to protect this sacred site. Traditional Owners are documenting the rock art, recording sacred sites and battling to get their unique cultural heritage recognised, recorded and celebrated.

The film will be accessible online, from 7pm on Thursday the 28th until 7pm on Saturday 30th of May 2020.

Please follow these directions to login:

  1. Click on the link below

  1. Click on login, top right hand corner
  2. Enter as a Guest Account:  FILEF
  3. Password: artfilms

WAM heads to the Mid West to record new album

Posted: May 20th, 2020



Artist applications are now open for the next instalment of West Australian Music’s (WAM) regional recording project.

The project aims to showcase the musical talent, stories, and provide opportunities to artists and sound engineers in the region. The project is made possible with the ongoing support of the State Government of Western Australia’s Contemporary Music Fund.

The ‘Sounds of The Mid West’ recording project will provide 10 Mid West artists the opportunity to record their original song with some of WA’s best award-winning producers at a pop-up studio in an iconic Mid West location this September/October.

The Mid West is home to many first nations Yamatji peoples and languages, as well as Martu peoples to the east, where WAM recorded their regional compilation, ‘Sounds of Wiluna’ in 2011.

The final compilation will be released in 2021, and the cover will feature the artwork of a local Mid West artist to capture the spirit of the region.

Sounds of The Mid West is the fourth of nine new regional recording projects. Since launching in 2006, the series has brought great exposure to 120 artists based regionally across the state of WA.

WAM’s latest regional compilation, Sounds of The Kimberley, has garnered significant digital streaming and radio airplay across ABC networks, and community radio nationally.

Applications to take part in the project are now open to Mid West region songwriters, acts/bands and studio sound engineers of any level, age, and genre.

Applications close on Thursday 20 August 2020. To view the online application form click here.

To view the media release click he

YMAC offers referral support to the Pilbara

Posted: May 15th, 2020

In response to a recent request from the Department of Communities’ Pilbara Incident Management Team, YMAC’s Hedland Office staff have offered to act as a referral agent for those members currently living in the Pilbara region who may be experiencing hardship due to COVID-19.

The department’s regional office has stated:

Individuals and families in the Pilbara may, at different times, need welfare support as a result of COVID-19. We are conscious that some people may have difficulties contacting the State Emergency Relief Hotline. To overcome this we are keen to identify organisations that have relationships in community and can refer people who may require welfare support to our Incident Management team. This will help to ensure people are able to access the support they need.

YMAC has agreed to be a referral agent to be able to help support our Pilbara-based members. This involves helping you to navigate this process such as completing forms, during the COVID-19 response.

Please note, the department has also provided the below eligibility criteria for assistance currently being provided. Accessing this support is a welfare response and provides coordinated assistance for people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligible individuals and families are:

•         Suffering hardship as a result of assisting their family, household or others who have been placed under home quarantine or isolation during COVID 19;

•         Not able to access essentials due to the following: age, vulnerability (e.g. sick, disability etc.), remoteness, social issues (e.g. poverty, unemployment);

•         Have no other financial means to access support, nor have access to savings, Centrelink benefits or other payments;

•         Have exhausted all other avenues of formal and informal supports;

•         Currently not self-isolating as directed by WACHS;

•         A victim of unforeseen crisis;

•         Requiring support following family and domestic violence in the absence of existing support from services (Victim or Perpetrator) (Family Violence Screening must be done);

•         Supporting eligible stranded travellers in affected areas; and/or

•         Providing care for children and dependents of deceased or seriously ill individuals.

Should YMAC members living in the Pilbara region find themselves in need of help, as described above, please contact YMAC’s Business Support Officer based in Hedland, Leaine, on 0457 311 462

Relaxing of COVID-19 Restrictions

Posted: May 14th, 2020

On Sunday, 10 May 2020 Premier Mark McGowan announced the State Government’s four phase roadmap to ease COVID-19 restrictions in WA. Phase 2 comes into effect on 18 May.

It is very important for people to familiarise themselves with the details of what the changes mean. Up to date details and FAQs can be found here

Phase 2 includes the following, with a limit of people lifted to 20 people where social distancing of 1.5 metres or 4 square metres per person can still be maintained:

  • indoor and outdoor non-work gatherings will be lifted from 10 people to 20 people;
  • people are encouraged to return to work, unless they are unwell or vulnerable;
  • cafés and restaurants can reopen with meal service (including within pubs, bars, clubs, hotels and casino);
  • weddings and funerals, up to 20 attendees (30 for outdoor);
  • places of worship, community facilities and libraries to re-open;
  • community sports (non-contact);
  • outdoor or indoor fitness classes (minimal shared equipment);
  • public swimming pools can open under strict rules (one indoor pool and one outdoor pool).

WA regional travel restrictions will also change, the number of current borders within Western Australia will drop from 13 to only four.  This will NOT include the Commonwealth Biosecurity zone and remote communities.

The new regional boundaries will allow:

  • travel between the South-West, Great Southern, Wheatbelt, Perth and Peel regions;
  • travel between the Mid-West, Gascoyne and Pilbara regions (excluding Biosecurity zone);
  • travel within the Goldfields-Esperance region (excluding the Biosecurity zone);
  • travel permitted between the Kimberley local government areas (the Commonwealth’s Biosecurity zone remains in place).

Western Australia’s hard border with the rest of Australia will remain in place.  It is expected to be the final restriction lifted.

Phase 1 is already in place following the cautious relaxing of some restrictions from April 27, 2020, to allow families and friends to stay connected.  Phase 3 will be finalised in the coming weeks, based on the advice from the Chief Health Officer and taking into account the infection rates across WA.

More information on WA’s Roadmap is available here

1946 Pilbara Strike struggled for a fair future

Posted: May 1st, 2020


Mrs Eaton at the 2018 Annual On-Country
Bush Meeting at Yule River. This meeting
demonstrates the importance and strength
of Aboriginal people working together. 


On this date in 1946, Aboriginal pastoral workers commenced their well-organised public pursuit for better pay and working conditions in the Pilbara, Western Australia. Hundreds of people walked off more than 20 stations, affecting about 10,000 square kilometres of farming country in the region.

Lasting for three years, the Pilbara Strike remains the longest in Australia’s history, and, understandably, holds great historical significance. At its height, at least 800 people were on strike, and by 1949 award rates were finally won. The strikers’ strength and resolve to ensure a fairer future for themselves, as well as generations to come, has since become an inspiration for many.

Taking much inspiration from the original strikers, Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) is proud to support the current work of the Pilbara Aboriginal Voice (PAV); another group of committed and resilient local leaders striving to improve conditions within and on behalf of the community. PAV was formed at the 2017 Annual On-Country Bush Meeting at Yule River, when those present decided they needed a united regional approach to work with government on matters affecting them.

YMAC Board Co-Chairperson – Pilbara Region and PAV Member, Mrs Doris Eaton – a Njamal/Pitjakarli/Nyangumarta Elder – has a direct connection to the Pilbara Strike: her father, Mr Ernie Mitchell, was one of its leaders.

Mrs Eaton recently reflected, “I am my father’s daughter. I grew up with all the tribes across the Pilbara, and I too have been working tirelessly for my people. Back then, my father was fighting for Aboriginal people to be treated equally in this country. All these years later, I’m still fighting for the same thing… I want our next generations to get more education, so they can be independent. I also want them to learn their language and look after their land and culture. It saddens me that we still have to strive for these things, but we will carry on doing it because it’s too important not to. Just like our old people fought for us, we will keep fighting for the generations to come too.”

Today, YMAC pays its respects to the courageous men and women of the Pilbara who stood up for their rights in 1946-49, as well as those who continue to pursue a fairer future.


Country is our mother, the provider and keeper of cultural belongings. Country and Culture go together. You can’t have one without the other.

Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners and custodians throughout Western Australia, and on whose Country we work. We acknowledge and respect their deep connection to their lands and waterways.

We honour and pay respect to Elders, and to their ancestors who survived and cared for Country.

Our offices are located on Whadjuk Country, Southern Yamatji Country, Yinggarda Country, Kariyarra Country, and Yawuru Country. We recognise the continuing culture, traditions, stories and living cultures on these lands and commit to building a brighter future together.

Disclaimer: Caution: Please be advised that this website may contain images, voices and names of deceased people.

This will close in 15 seconds