Last updated

Titjikala (Maryvale)
Northern Territory
Australia Northern Territory location map blank.svg
Red pog.svg
Titjikala (Maryvale)
Coordinates 24°40′23″S134°4′28″E / 24.67306°S 134.07444°E / -24.67306; 134.07444 Coordinates: 24°40′23″S134°4′28″E / 24.67306°S 134.07444°E / -24.67306; 134.07444
Population201 (2011 census) [1]
Postcode(s) 0872
Elevation367 m (1,204 ft)
Location120 km (75 mi) southeast of Alice Springs
LGA(s) MacDonnell Region
Territory electorate(s) Namatjira
Federal division(s) Lingiari
Mean max tempMean min tempAnnual rainfall
37.5 °C
100 °F
5.6 °C
42 °F
188.8 mm
7.4 in

Titjikala (also known as Tapatjatjaka and formerly known as "Maryvale", after the cattle station at the community of the same name) is an Aboriginal community in the south of the Northern Territory of Australia. At the 2011 census, Titjikala had a population of 201. [1]



In Aboriginal tradition, the traditional owners of the Titjikala area owned an area extending from Horseshoe Bend through to Chambers Pillar, the Titjikala community area, and then across to Mt. Burrell, Mt. Peachy and to Mt. Frank.

Titjakala is about 100 km by mainly unsealed road south-east from Alice Springs, which is the main access road to the community. Titjikala is situated in the Simpson Desert, which occupies much of the southern portion of the Northern Territory. Nowadays, Titjikala is situated within the boundaries of Maryvale Station, a cattle station. Chambers Pillar is a spectacular landmark, a multi-coloured rock column some 40 kilometres away from the site.


No specific weather records are kept for Titjikala. The nearest weather station was located to the southeast at Finke from 1932 to 1980, when it was decommissioned.

Finke experienced summer maximum temperatures of an average of 37.5 degrees Celsius in January and a winter maximum average temperature of 19.9 degrees Celsius in July. Overnight lows range from a mean minimum temperature of 22.8 degrees in January to 5.6 degrees in July. Annual rainfall averages 188.8 millimetres. [2]


The Australian Bureau of Statistics recorded a population of 201 people (with 94% being of Aboriginal background) in the 2011 Census. That represented a decrease since the 2006 census from 219 people. 26.1% of the residents were below 15 years of age, and 2% aged over 65 years of age. Median weekly income was $276, some $70–80 more than other Aboriginal communities but still far short of larger white settlements. [1]

Tapatjatjaka Community, on their website, state:

There are also people who have been living in the Titjikala area for several generations, but whose family members came from other areas. Their children, having been born in this area, are connected to its dreaming. Consequently, Titjikala has become the home to Arrernte (traditional owners), Luritja and Pitjantjatjara people. [3]

The above demonstrates the natural interconnection between language and cultural identity in Indigenous Australian culture.


Traditional languages are Luritja, Arrernte or Pitjantjatjara. Arrernte is said to be the language of the traditional owners of the land. English is spoken in varying degrees of fluency.


Tapatjatjaka Community, on their website, gives the following history:

From the 1940s onwards families came to the Maryvale Station to work as stockmen and as domestic helpers. The station owners provided rations to the people who resided and worked on their stations.

Aboriginal people started settling in the area in the 1950s, when a mission truck visited every six weeks. Families would work at the surrounding stations as stockman, cameleers and domestic staff.

At this time the people still lived in traditional humpies. Water was fetched from a well mainly by donkey wagons, but also by foot or by camel. Children and women would travel back and forwards most of the day collecting water from the well and carrying it to the humpy area. The community obtained its food from rations from the station (flour, salt and meat). People also collected bush tucker including goannas, kangaroos, witchetty grubs, bush tomatoes and bush bananas.

Then in the early 1960s the community built their own sheds, much like garages, with concrete slabs for flooring. At this time the station laid piping from a good bore with the help of the Aboriginal people to provide a tap near the new buildings. As part of the village a church was built in the same garage style.

In the 1970s the first school was provided to the Titjikala people.

The community was originally a 200-hectare excision from the Francis Well water reserve and the stock route. It is within the Maryvale station pastoral lease, which was registered in 1978.

Titjikala community obtained freehold title to the excision in 1987 and in 1988 the Northern Territory Government gazetted the Titjikala control Plan, which places certain restrictions on land usage and development in the community. [4]

Current events

Titjikala was visited on 28 June 2007 by one of the Howard Commonwealth Government's "scoping teams" (comprising federal bureaucrats, social / health workers, police and soldiers), sent to enforce a "crackdown" on sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities. [5] Commonwealth Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Mal Brough said that the Government's "crackdown" on sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities would begin with five communities, comprising Titjikala, Mutitjulu, Imanpa, Aputula, and Santa Teresa. [6]


Access to Titjikala is by road or air. The roads and the airstrip can be washed out during heavy rains. [7]

Gunya Titjikala is a tourist resort operated by Gunya Tourism at Titjikala. [8] ("Gunya" is another word for "humpie" or shelter.) Profits are delivered to the community through a trust account arrangement. Gunya Titjikala is unique in being funded through a private loan by Macquarie Bank executive Bill Moss, who provided $400,000 to start operations. The Indigenous Land Council has also contributed $250,000 in venture capital. [9] The Australian newspaper reported on 9 October 2007 that Gunya had suspended operations due to the cancellation of the Community Development Employment Program as part of the Howard Government's Northern Territory National Emergency Response interventions in the Northern Territory. [10]

Titjikala has a general store, school, women's centre, indigenous arts centre, [11] early learning centre, aged care program, laundry, mechanical workshop, basketball court, health clinic and Centrelink agent.

A primary school exists at Titjikala.

Titjikala and its surrounds are governed by the Tapatjatjaka Community Government Council. The council has a budget of approximately $4m and employs 26 people. [12]

A Lutheran church is based in Titjikala. The Lutheran Church has had a long association with the Titjikala community. [7]

There is no continuous Northern Territory police presence or police station in the community.

A permit is not required for a member of the public to visit Titjikala. Alcohol is banned from Titjikala and severe penalties apply for those taking alcohol into the community.

Notable people


  1. 1 2 3 Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Titjikala, NT (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 8 September 2012. OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
  2. Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology data
  3. MainPage Archived 29 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. Friends of Titjikala homepage; Archived 29 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  5. The Australian Newspaper, 29 June 2007 edition;
  6. Anne Barker, Reporter: Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio "PM" program, 26 June 2007;
  7. 1 2 Titjikala Archived 1 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. Gunya Tourism website;
  9. The West Australian newspaper, 5 November 2006 edition; Archived 30 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  10. Dole ban stalls tour group The Australian newspaper, 9 October 2007 Retrieved on 10 October 2007
  11. Titjikala Art Centre website Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  12. LGA NT Website; Archived 31 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alice Springs</span> Town in the Northern Territory, Australia

Alice Springs is the third-largest town in the Northern Territory of Australia. Known as Stuart until 31 August 1933, the name Alice Springs was given by surveyor William Whitfield Mills after Alice, Lady Todd, wife of the telegraph pioneer Sir Charles Todd. Known colloquially as 'The Alice' or simply 'Alice', the town is situated roughly in Australia's geographic centre. It is nearly equidistant from Adelaide and Darwin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Finke River</span> River in the Northern Territory, Australia

The Finke River, or Larapinta (Arrernte), is a river in central Australia, one of four main rivers of the Lake Eyre Basin and thought to be the oldest riverbed in the world. It flows for only a few days a year and when this happens, its water usually disappears into the sands of the Simpson Desert, rarely if ever reaching Lake Eyre.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hermannsburg, Northern Territory</span> Town in the Northern Territory, Australia

Hermannsburg, also known as Ntaria, is an Aboriginal community in Ljirapinta Ward of the MacDonnell Shire in the Northern Territory of Australia, 125 kilometres (78 mi); west southwest of Alice Springs, on the Finke River, in the traditional lands of the Western Arrarnta people.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pitjantjatjara</span> Aboriginal people of Central Australia

The Pitjantjatjara are an Aboriginal people of the Central Australian desert near Uluru. They are closely related to the Yankunytjatjara and Ngaanyatjarra and their languages are, to a large extent, mutually intelligible.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mutitjulu</span> Town in the Northern Territory, Australia

Mutitjulu is an Aboriginal Australian community in the Northern Territory of Australia located at the eastern end of Uluṟu. It is named after a knee-shaped water-filled rock hole at the base of Uluṟu, and is located in the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. Its people are traditional owners and joint managers of the park with Parks Australia. At the 2011 census, Mutitjulu had a population of 296, of which 218 (71.2%) were Aboriginal.

The Luritja dialect is the language of the Luritja people, an Aboriginal Australian group indigenous to parts of the Northern Territory and Western Australia. It is one of several dialects in the Western Desert language group.

Kalka is an Aboriginal community in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in South Australia administered under the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Rights Act 1981.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Papunya</span> Town in the Northern Territory, Australia

Papunya is a small Indigenous Australian community roughly 240 kilometres (150 mi) northwest of Alice Springs (Mparntwe) in the Northern Territory, Australia. It is known as an important centre for Contemporary Indigenous Australian art, in particular the style created by the Papunya Tula artists in the 1970s, referred to colloquially as dot painting. Its population in 2016 was 404.

Aputula is a remote Indigenous Australian community in the Northern Territory of Australia. It is 317 km (197 mi) south of Alice Springs and 159 km (99 mi) east of Kulgera roadhouse on the Stuart Highway, near the border with South Australia. The Finke River, which is dry for most of the year except during occasional floods and is part of the Lake Eyre basin, passes within a few kilometres of the community.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Western Desert language</span> Dialect cluster of Australian Aboriginal languages

The Western Desert language, or Wati, is a dialect cluster of Australian Aboriginal languages in the Pama–Nyungan family.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve</span> Protected area in the Northern Territory, Australia

Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve is a protected area in the Northern Territory of Australia located in the locality of Ghan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">MacDonnell Region</span> Local government area in the Northern Territory, Australia

The MacDonnell Regional Council is a local government area of the Northern Territory, Australia. The region covers an area of 268,329 square kilometres and had an estimated population of 6,863 people in June 2018.

Kaltukatjara, also known as Docker River, is a remote Indigenous Australian community in the Northern Territory of Australia. It is southwest of Alice Springs, west of the Stuart Highway, near the Western Australia and Northern Territory border. The township is on a wadi called the Docker Creek on the north side of the west end of the Petermann Ranges in the southwest corner of the Northern Territory of Australia.

Lower Arrernte, also known as Lower Southern Arrernte, Lower Aranda, Lower Southern Aranda and Alenjerntarrpe, was an Arandic language. Lower Arrernte was spoken in the Finke River area, near the Overland Telegraph Line station at Charlotte Waters, just north of the border between South Australia and the Northern Territory, and in the Dalhousie area in S.A. It had been extinct since the last speaker died in 2011, but there is now a language revival project under way.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Haasts Bluff, Northern Territory</span> Community in the Northern Territory, Australia

Haasts Bluff, also known as Ikuntji, is an Aboriginal Australian community in Central Australia, a region of the Northern Territory. The community is located in the MacDonnell Shire local government area, 227 kilometres (141 mi) west of Alice Springs. At the 2006 census, the community, including outstations, had a population of 207.

Bess Nungarrayi Price is an Aboriginal Australian activist and politician. She was a Country Liberal Party member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly from 2012 to 2016, representing the electorate of Stuart, and was Minister for Community Services in the Giles Ministry. She lives in Alice Springs in Central Australia, in the Northern Territory.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Larapinta Drive</span>

Larapinta Drive is a designated state route in the Northern Territory of Australia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Areyonga, Northern Territory</span> Suburb of MacDonnell Region, the Northern Territory, Australia

Areyonga is a small town in the Northern Territory of Australia, located about 220 km (140 mi) west of Alice Springs. As of 2016 it had a population of about 195, most of whom are Aboriginal people of the Pitjantjatjara language group.

The Katiti Aboriginal Land Trust is a land trust for a block of land in the southwest of the Northern Territory of Australia located in the locality of Petermann. It was created through the Katiti Land Claim in 1980. The trust's owners include Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara and Luritja people. The block of land is officially referred to as Northern Territory Portion 1818. It borders the larger Petermann Land Trust area and Uluṟu–Kata Tjuṯa National Park to the north and west, and two pastoral stations to the east and south: Curtin Springs and Mulga Park. The town of Yulara is excluded from the Land Trusts, and sits between the Katiti block and Uluṟu–Kata Tjuṯa National Park.

The Luritja or Loritja people, also known as Kukatja or Kukatja-Luritja, are an Aboriginal Australian people of the Northern Territory. Their traditional lands are immediately west of the Derwent River, that forms a frontier with the Arrernte people, with their lands covering some 27,000 square kilometres (10,300 sq mi). Their language is the Luritja dialect, a Western Desert language.