Country, Culture, People, Future

April 2021

2021 Yamatji On Country Postponed

Posted: April 27th, 2021


Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions YMAC management have made the decision to postpone the Yamatji On Country meeting. The inaugural meeting was scheduled to be held on Saturday 8 May on the Carnarvon Foreshore.

YMAC will consult with the Yamatji Regional Committee Chairs to identify a suitable date and venue that is available to support the meeting proceeding.

YMAC remains committed to supporting the Yamatji On Country Meeting, to encourage connection and collaboration between community and government to tackle issues.

We thank you for your patience as we work through these challenges to ensure gatherings can take place in the safest manner for all attending. We look forward to communicating with you regarding a new date in the future.

If you have any questions please contact the Geraldton office.

Event updates will also be posted on YMAC’s website.


Events in 2021 to recognise the 1946 Pilbara Strike

Posted: April 22nd, 2021

The 75th Anniversary of the 1946 Pilbara Strike is on Saturday, 1 May.

This significant event continues to have a far-reaching impact on Indigenous human rights in Australia and has influenced the development of events like the On-Country Bush Meeting at Yule River.

To commemorate the anniversary, working groups are coordinating events across Western Australia, commencing in May.

One of the many groups is known as Remembering the 1946 Pilbara Strike Working Group, and is made up of family members of strikers, and interested supporters from Perth and the Pilbara.

If you would like to support these and more events to ensure the Pilbara Strike is recognised in Australia’s history, please check the facebook page for updates on events: Remembering the 1946 Pilbara Strike | Facebook


Remembering the 1946 Pilbara Strike

Posted: April 20th, 2021

2021 marks the 75th anniversary of the landmark Pilbara pastoral strike which is now recognised as Australia’s longest strike. 

On May 1, 1946 around 800 Aboriginal workers and their families walked off stations across the Pilbara where they were being forced to work. This action was despite great danger and lasted for months following, to protest poor wages and living conditions, and their battle for justice.

They had been disinherited of their land by the squatters and government and forced to work for decades on the stations for meagre rations, and little or no wages; their lives subject to the exploitation and whims of the pastoralists, government agents and legislators.

Many strikers said they lived no better than slaves.

A large number of workers and their families joined the strike during the Port Hedland races weekend in August 1946, after they travelled to the track on the horse trucks and by train. When the races finished, they refused requests by the squatters to return to the stations. Peter Coppin had a gun pulled on him by a policeman during one stand-off. Another strike leader, Ernie Mitchell was arrested but later released.

The legendary Daisy Bindi led around 90 people off Roy Hill station in a courageous quest to join the strike.

How it happened:

The idea to strike was first proposed by Don McLeod, a white miner and fencer who witnessed the treatment of Aboriginal workers and became increasingly disturbed by the inequality and exploitation. He made strong connections with the Aboriginal men working for him, and he paid them good wages for their work. Word spread among station workers about the difference in their treatment and an undercurrent of discontent grew.

McLeod explained the strike concept to a large Law meeting held at Skull Springs in 1942, where it was proposed to hold a mass station walk-off when the Second World War was over. An ingenious plan was hatched to spread the strike date to the station workers. May 1 was chosen because it was International Workers’ Day. This date was marked with a cross on hand-drawn calendars, and secretly delivered to the station workers by Lawmen and strike leaders, Dooley Bin Bin and Clancy McKenna.

What happened?

For three years the strikers endured great hardship, physical danger, violence and threats. There were chainings and gaolings of strikers, including Clancy McKenna and Dooley Bin Bin, and McLeod was fined for ‘inciting natives’.

During this period they set up camps across the Pilbara, including at Two Mile, Four Mile, Twelve Mile (Tjalku Wara) and Moolyella, where families and groups lived and ‘yandied’ or mined for tin and minerals, such as beryl and tantalite, to sell for food and clothing. They also collected and bagged oyster shell along the coast, buffel seed and goats skins to earn enough money to survive.

At the same time as protesting against their treatment by the pastoralists, the strikers were questioning the laws that governed their lives; laws that meant they had no right to marry without permission from the ‘Protector of Natives’, no right to demand wages for their work, no right to education, no right to enter towns after dusk, and no right to vote.

The strikers received moral and financial support for their cause from a number of organisations. Don McLeod enlisted the help of the Communist Party of which he was a member, and the Seamen’s Union which placed a black ban on the loading of wool, putting pressure on the pastoralists to pay a minimum wage to their Aboriginal workers. Churches and women’s Christian groups in Perth also helped raise funds and awareness of the strikers’ purpose. The issue was raised at the United Nations as well.

What was achieved?

The strikers stood firm, and their bravery and determination finally forced changes that helped initiate the restoration and recognition of their basic human rights.

In 1959, the strikers formed two groups – the Nomads and the Mugarinya group – these groups went on to own stations, including Strelley, Warralong and Yandeyarra.

While the strike is recognised as concluding in 1949, there was no official ending. There are people who still claim to be on strike as they never went back to work on the stations.

The strike – sometimes called the ‘Black Eureka’- has been described by Senator Pat Dodson (former Chair of the Council for Reconciliation), as “an important and inspiring milestone in the national battle for justice, rights, equality and recognition for Indigenous people”.

In 2010, the new suburb of ‘Bonner’ (after Senator Neville Bonner) was created in Canberra – it has four street names of some of the famous strikers to honour the 1946 Pilbara station strike – Clancy McKenna Crescent, Dooley Bin Bin Street, Peter Coppin Street, and Don McLeod Lane.

Words from those who led:

“We didn’t live in houses or anything. We had to go down to the creek like kangaroos. We just want to be treated like human beings, not cattle.”[1] Nyangumarta woman and strike leader, the late Daisy Bindi, who led the walk-off from Roy Hill station.

“We want to better ourselves. We just want better conditions…We’ve been working for the Squatters long enough and all we get is a chunk of meat, corned beef, dry bread. We want to walk off all that.”[2] Nyamal Lawman and strike leader, the late Clancy McKenna.

“We lived no better than the cattle but we worked all day for the right to do even that! We were skinny people back then, and we lived through plenty of starvation times. Things are different now but that’s because of the fight we had…that bloody big battle.”[3] Nyamal Lawman and strike leader, the late Peter Coppin.

“We will have hard times, but for our own people, not like now, hard times, for the whitefellas with their cattle stations and sheep stations. We will win.”[4] Nyangumarta Lawman and strike leader, Dooley Bin Bin.

“…the road will be hard and very long, but don’t ever despair. The Police will be against us, the squatters, perhaps Government, and there will be gaol and chains and all sorts of rough times but we can do it.”[5] The miner and fencer, the late Don McLeod, who helped the strikers.

Words from family members:

“When I found our family and took my Mum home to meet everyone, we were so proud to learn about the strike. We heard great stories about the mob working around the Pilbara. I remember our old people saying, ‘We still on strike.’ We can’t  forget their bravery and my grandchildren need to know more of this story.” Rose Murray, Nyangumarta woman, former Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation member.

I think what was remarkable was the way our mob were so super organised – the       bike story is incredible! What’s been handed down to us and our pride in our forefathers and mothers, crosses the Pilbara. It is powerful but quiet – it connects  all the mobs. It drives us forward. Michelle Broun, Yindjibarndi women and curator, Australian First Nations Art, John Curtin Gallery.

YMAC thanks Working Group member, writer and playwright Jolly Read for her contribution to this story.  

Want to know about Anniversary events? 

Join the ‘Remembering the 1946 Pilbara Strike’ Facebook page,


Quotes referenced from:


[2] Somewhere Between Black and White, Kingsley Palmer, Clancy McKenna, The MacMillan Company, 1978

[3] Kangkushot, The Life of Nyamal Lawman, Peter Coppin, ASP- AIATSIS, 1998, Revised 2014.

[4] Yandy, Donald Stuart, Georgian House, Melbourne, 1959.

[5] Ibid.

Yamatji On-Country is coming to Carnarvon – 8 May

Posted: April 19th, 2021

YMAC’s Yamatji Regional Committee are very excited to announce the inaugural Yamatji On-Country will be held in Carnarvon on Saturday, 8 May.

While the 2019 and 2020 Yamatji On Country events unfortunately had to be cancelled due to Sorry Business and the COVID-19 pandemic respectively, this year’s event is scheduled to be held on Carnarvon’s Town Beach Foreshore.

We are encouraging participation from all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the Mid West, Murchison, and Gascoyne to come together as a collective to tackle issues affecting your community.

The event will be held on one day. The morning agenda is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander attendees only. Discussion will focus on two key issues: Draft Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill, and language preservation. Following this, invited stakeholders from local, State and Federal Government will be invited to join in and hear presentations on decisions made. In the afternoon, community members will carry on discussions about community issues and local solutions

For more information please contact Carrum Mourambine or Ken Capewell on (08) 9965 6222 or email or

Regional WA Talent showcased in WAM’S Sounds of the Mid West recording compilation.

Posted: April 12th, 2021

West Australian Music (WAM) have officially released of Sounds of The Mid West, the fourteenth compilation album from WAM’s regional recording program

The album is the first compilation album to emerge from the Yamatji region, recorded on Yamatji Country. It features acts ranging from 18 to 87 years old, five First Nations artists, and eight artists’ offering their debut releases. Sounds of The Mid West will be officially launched with all ten acts performing in a live showcase at Queens Park Theatre, Geraldton on Friday 16 April.

If you can’t make the launch, Sounds of The Mid West is available on all digital streaming platforms from Friday April 9, with a limited-edition physical CD package featuring the artwork ‘Inktober Day 29’ by local Geraldton visual artist Jane Barndon.







Website domain name licensing rules updated to include Indigenous corporations

Posted: April 7th, 2021

The .au Domain Administation (auDA) has updated the eligibility criteria for registering website domains, for the first time specifying Indigenous corporations under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth) (CATSI Act) on their list of eligible organisation categories.

Prior to the updated licensing rules, which come into effect from 12 April 2021, Indigenous corporations under the CATSI Act were able to register for websites, but were not yet specified as an eligible organisation category. The updated rules mean the registration process for Indigenous corporations, including Prescribed Bodies Corporate (PBCs) and Registered Native Title Bodies Corporate (RNTBCs), is now clearer.

The updated definitions include the following new additions to the list of eligible organisation categories:

  • Indigenous corporations
  • Co-operatives
  • Registered state and territory political parties; and
  • Government, being either the Crown or a Commonwealth, State or Territory statutory agency.

In addition to specifying Indigenous corporations as eligible, the new licensing rules now exclude unincorporated associations from registering for website domains – unless the association is registered with the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission’s (ACNC) Register of Charities.

By tightening the eligibility for domain registration, auDA hope to improve the integrity of the and overall .au ccTLD space, and continue building trust and confidence in .au namespaces.

To read more about the changes and see the full list of eligible organisation categories, visit the auDA website here:

View the full .au Domain Registration Rules – Licensing document here:

Have your say at Indigenous Voice in person consultation sessions

Posted: April 6th, 2021

New community consultation sessions for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament initiative are now open for registration on the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) website, and the deadline for submissions has been extended until 30 April, 2021.

Feedback from the community consultations and submissions will assist the Indigenous Voice co-design groups as they prepare their final recommendations to the Australian Government. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are encouraged to share advice and input on matters that are important to the continuing empowerment of Indigenous communities.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendee numbers are strictly limited and only attendees who register prior to the event will be allowed into the venues.

To register for the community consultation sessions, visit the NIAA’s Indigenous Voice website:

Port Hedland

April 13 at 5pm

April 14 at 9:30am


April 15 at 11am


April 20 at 2pm

April 20 at 6pm

Summaries from previous public consultation sessions are available here.

A list of current submissions from people and organisations who have agreed to have their feedback published is available here.

For more information about the Indigenous Voice proposals and co-design process, visit the NIAA website.

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.

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