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The Kanamkek-Yile Ngala (Rainbow Serpent, Murrinhpatha) Museum is the keeping place for the cultural material of the Wangga, Lirrga, Wulthirri and Tjanpa peoples of the Thamarrurr region.

The museum was established in 1994 by Br. Phil Costigan and the Wadeye Elders.

The Museum holds:

  • artworks
  • cultural objects
  • family and community
  • photographs
  • documents and audio-visual
  • recordings of cultural events and ceremonies
  • records of song, dance and language.

The museum worked in partnership with the Wadeye Aboriginal Languages Centre (WALC). The WALC was established in the early 1990s as an initiative of Aloysius Kungal and Damien Tunmuck, senior men from the Magati Ke tribe to save the languages of the Wadeye/Daly/Fitzmaurice region from becoming extinct.

Aware firsthand of the impacts of language loss, community members recorded local language with the support of the WALC to ensure those languages were retained as part of strong cultural identity.

Following relocation of the WALC to the museum, the institutions worked to produce audio-visual materials with a community focus. The main priority has been to record the cultural sites and associated stories in the region in eight languages. The input of Wadeye Elders to the recordings has resulted in the capture of intimate knowledge concerning sacred and significant sites, with this knowledge subsequently developed into educational publications for school-aged children. (2016, Lyndon-Ormond Parker When Magnets Collide)

In 2012 TDC assumed the management and support of the museum at the request of the community and began digitising the museum’s analogue collection compromised of 800 VHS tapes and 600 mini DV tapes. The digitisation project captured and preserved over 2000 hours of footage and was added to the Kanemkek Yile-Ngala audio-visual library.

In 2021 TDC undertook infrastructure upgrades to further protect the community’s precious data by installing a 96TB network attached system.

Visitors in Wadeye are welcome to come in and see the museum collection by arranging an appointment on (08) 8978 1305