Katherine Region
Teaching in the Territory
Ngukurr Community Education Centre has an enrolment of 260 children ranging from pre-school to secondary. There are fourteen teaching staff and twelve other people employed in various capacities.


Ngukurr community is situated in South East Arnhem Land on the North bank of the Roper river about 70Km inland from the Gulf of Carpentaria in Australia's Northern Territory.

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Ngukurr is a Category ? school. Terms and conditions for this category can be found at 'Teaching in the Territory' website.

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Historically Ngalakan speakers inhabited the area around Ngukurr, which is the name of the hill on which the town is centred. Ludwig Leichhardt named the Roper River in 1845, after one of the members of his expedition.

The Church of England, as the Roper River Mission, established Ngukurr Community in August 1908. The region had seen much violence towards Aboriginal people, and the mission became a refuge for the remnants of many different language groups.

The Welfare Branch of the Commonwealth Government took responsibility for the mission in 1968. The Yugal Mangi Community Government Council was formed in 1988. At the same time, the new complex of the current school was built.

For many years Ngukurr Community Education Centre was seen as being at the forefront of Aboriginalisation. This was a process whereby schools would have Aboriginal staff and Aboriginal leaders. However, in recent years this process has been reversed, and now there are fewer Aboriginal staff at the school. More than half of the staff at Ngukurr in 2002 are indigenous.

There are seven language groups represented in the Ngukurr community, and 21 clans. The community government council runs an area with about 1200 people, both here and in the region. There are a large number of outstations, the largest at Urapunga and Hodgson Downs. From the mix of language groups arose the lingua franca language now known as Kriol. Kriol is a recognized Aboriginal language, which includes variations on many English words, and is spoken by up to 20 000 speakers across Northern Australia.

Visit the 'Out Bush' section of the 'Katherine Region' pages of the Rivers Cluster site to learn more.

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