Parnngurr Community consists of around 150 Western Desert people whose ancestors have been here since the beginning of the Dreaming, and who have since returned to their traditional land.
The community is built in the shadow of twin hills with particular significance to the people and sits at the southern end of the Karlamilyi (Rudall River) National Park, 380 km’s north, north-east of Newman on a maintained unsealed road.
Our independent school was established in 1989, and at the end of 1992 community members moved into permanent housing with power and water facilities. The community is firm in its commitment to maintaining traditional values in an alcohol-free environment for their children.
Parnngurr Community receives mail twice a week by charter plane. Facilities in the community include a small store, 24-hour medical clinic, community office and oval. Telephone, fax and internet services are available.
Parnngurr Community School aims to develop strong young Martu men and women by ensuring they attain educational outcomes that will provide them with a wide range of life opportunities while valuing their Indigenous culture.
It is part of the ethos and strength of independent, community-controlled schools that they enjoy and maintain an excellent relationship with the community. It is school policy to support the cultural life and aspirations of the community.
The school council sometimes call upon both physical and human resources available at their school. At their request, the school has assisted in various community activities, such as funerals, sporting activities, hunting and other bush trips, and emergency rescues. The Principal also assists less literate community members who need to use the telephone.
Because of this collaborative relationship, Parnngurr Community School is well regarded and supported by the community. All school staff are encouraged to participate in appropriate community activities.
A Message from the Board
The Board of Parnngurr Community School sees the School as a place of two-way learning: a balance between on-country and classroom learning. This is why Parnngurr Community established this school more than 30 years ago. We want our children’s learning experiences on-country to lead their learning in class. Our children must see and know that the knowledge of their Elders, those living and the ones of the past, is just as relevant today as it was in the past.
We want our children to grow up to be confident leaders from their education at school. They must learn skills and have the confidence one day to lead their own community and determine their own future. To do this, the school helps students to identify their goals in life and assist them to reach those goals. We are happy that Parnngurr Community School works closely with the community to this end and are also happy to see Martu members of the community, including Elders, regularly visit classrooms.
Parnngurr Community is home to some of the most senior Martu Elders in the country. It is imperative that the knowledge of these Elders are captured and passed down to the younger generation. We are pleased that the on-country trips regularly taken between the school, KJ Rangers and community often includes our most senior Elders. Some of these on-country learning trips have focused on kinship and have strengthened students’ identities and given them more understanding of their place within Martu culture. When we see the interaction between Elders and students on these occasions, it warms our hearts.
We would love to see our students interact with students of other cultures, and to learn about the world beyond their community. This will give them the confidence to travel and represent their people in places of power. The Board is pleased with the budding friendship between Parnngurr Community School and St Mark’s Anglican School in Perth. Staff have already visited each other and are looking forward to a more meaningful relationship in the future.
Parnngurr Community School is a happy place. We welcome contact from communities across the world. We would love to share our stories with you.
Welcome to the Parnngurr Community School.
Parnngurr is a remote Australian Indigenous Community located on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert. It is the tribal home of the Martu people whose ancestors have been here since the beginning of the Dream Time.
The Martu were some of the last of Australia’s Indigenous people to make contact with European Australians with many migrating from their desert lands into neighbouring pastoral stations and missions in the 1950s and 1960s.
The old people of the Martu have first-hand experience of traditional life and have extensive traditional ecological knowledge of their country. This provides an important and time limited opportunity to preserve and transfer this knowledge before they pass away.
The community is proud of their school and everyone who is associated with the school is proud to be part of this very special community.
Dr Prem Mudhan
The Director’s Vision
We are the Directors and owners of Parnngurr Community School Aboriginal Corporation. We believe in the power of our Martu people’s self-reliance, ownership of the school and independent action to shape our own social and educational destinies.
The Parnngurr Community School Aboriginal Corporation (School Council) is the legal entity that is funded by government to run the school. The Corporation is incorporated under CATSI and operates with the CATSI legislation. The regulator is ORIC and the Corporation is strictly accountable under the ACT. The Corporations accounts and rule are publicly disclosed by being posted on the ORIC site in accordance with CATSI requirements.
“The key to engaging students is the two-way learning system that has been embedded into an independent teaching program“