Yipirinya School council meets to celebrate renovation

Families gathered today at Yipirinya school to celebrate the construction of their new front garden entrance, which was refurbished after a tree fell from a recent storm which caused significant damage.

“We’re celebrating today the new garden opening… recently we had a storm here, the tree fell down and made it a bit bad, but now it’s looking good.”

– Leslie White, Secretary of the Yipirinya School Council

Yipirinya school has a nearly 45 year long history of working with traditional stakeholders to educate the next generation, with a particular importance on Aboriginal culture and language, it is the only school in Australia that teaches four unique indigenous languages (Warlpiri, Central Arrernte, Western Aranda and Luritja).

The school had in the past few years gone through a period of hardship, having gone through a period of statutory management, which had only recently ended. The schools current goals are to work towards handing back control of the school to Aboriginal leaders.

Video produced, filmed and edited by Chris Murrkarany Fitzpatrick, with assistance from Jack Orr and Delroy Tranter.


In a great leap towards that goal the Yipirinya School Council had recently reformed, two weeks ago they met for the first time in two years. The council has two representatives from each of the language groups taught (Warlpiri, Central Arrernte, Western Aranda and Luritja) the council members are strong community leaders with long-term ties to the school, with some being previous students and relatives of founding members.

Council Chair, Central Arrernte man, Patrick Nandy, feels strongly motivated to inspire students. “In the last 12 months we’ve seen lots more kids going to school which has been good to see,” he said. “I want to help Yipirinya grow more and inspire the kids to do more.”

Mr Nandy also shared some good news, “This year we have a record number of enrolments – 302 kids – and 65% of Yipirinya staff are Aboriginal.”

The Principal of Yipirinya School, Gavin Morris, says that Yipirinya School has in the past three years tripled in size, budget and that their staff size has gone in a similar direction. Mr Morris claimed that they’ve made vital steps towards the schools ultimate goal of handing back ownership of the school to Aboriginal leadership and he spoke on the vital importance of the work done at the school.

“The long and short of it is, if the current generation don’t learn culture and language, it will die with the generation above it.”

– Gavin Morris, Principal of Yipirinya School