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West Kimberley

Encounters. Indigenous contact and culture: a classroom resource

Caution: This website includes images and names of deceased people that may cause distress to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Bunuba country

West Kimberley, Western Australia

Bunuba man Jandamarra grew up at a time when British pastoralists were moving into the Kimberley. Schooled in the traditions of Bunuba culture, he worked in the new settlers' world before leading a war of resistance. Explore how his life and death still resonate today.

  • A map of Australia indicating the location of west Kimberley.
    West Kimberley, Western Australia
  • Landscape photo looking up to dark, rocky escparments, with grasses and boab tree at right.
    Setting the scene
  • A group of five mounted police, with C. H. Ord on Isadore at centre and Derby police quarters in the background.
    Mounted police
  • Green glass point attached to a wooden shaft by gum and tendon binding.
  • An acrylic painting on canvas depicting an Aboriginal man standing amidst a landscape.
    Preparation for Battle painting
  • Curved wooden boomerang
    Larry Kunamarra's boomerang


Arrange the events

What do you know about the west Kimberley?

Video story

See a performance of 'Jandamarra – Sing for the Country'

Watch this video of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra performing Jandamarra – Sing for the Country (Ngalanybarra Muwayi).

Activity: Take notes to record what you see and hear in these categories:

  • people
  • settings
  • props
  • instruments
  • sounds

What message do you think this performance is trying to communicate?

More activities

Jandamarra painting

Activity: Look closely at the painting Preparation for Battle at 6 Mile Creek by Jack Macale, pictured above. It has clues that Jandamarra inhabited an Indigenous world and a British world. What are these clues?

Make a list of:

  • elements of Indigenous culture in the artwork
  • elements of British culture in the artwork

Have a class discussion about why you think Jandamarra is remembered as a leader of his people.


Activity: Think about why the introduction of cows and sheep into Bunuba country led to conflict. Draw two pictures of the same waterhole, one showing its significance to Bunuba people, the other showing its significance to sheep or cattle farmers. What was valuable to each group? What was less useful to each group?

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