Balgo Hills

Balgo, Western Australia

Balgo is a small Aboriginal Community in Western Australia which is linked with both the Great Sandy Desert and the Tanami Desert. The Community is in the Shire of Halls Creek, off the Tanami Road (formerly known as the Tanami Track). Balgo has a population of about 400 people. It has a petrol station, supermarket, Catholic Parish, School (K-10,) Adult Education Centre, Clinic and Police Station.

Balgo was previously known as Balgo Hills. It is possible that the name comes from the kukatja for rice grass - palkurr-palkurr, which grows on the hills at 'Old Mission' a former site of the Community.

The town is famous for its artists' cooperative which was established when some of the original members of the Papunya Tula movement were allowed to leave Papunya. Some of the famous artists from Balgo include Eubena Nampitjin, Elizabeth Nyumi, Boxer Milner, Tjumpo Tjapanangka and Helicopter Tjungurrayi.

The Kukatja language is spoken by many Balgo people, both young and old (2007). Luurnpa school includes the Walkala Centre where reading books are written, illustrated and read onto CD or DVD in both Kukatja and English. The school has published a comprehensive Kukatja dictionary based on the work of several linguists.

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