Patjarr (Karliywara)

Patjarr is located 243 klms north north west of Warburton by road, or 92 nautical miles by direct airline, and located in the Clutterbuck Hills area. It is a small community that was established in 1992 as an outstation of Warburton, with an Advisor and a population of 30 people. The community, including its water supply and airstrip, are at present illegally located within the Gibson Desert Nature Reserve. The Western Australian Conservation and Land Management Commission is proposing to rectify the illegal land tenure problem by enlarging the size of the Patjarr Lease by some 6804 hectares to be taken from the Gibson Desert Nature Reserve.

In the mid 1960's the Pintubi people from the Patjarr were moved from their Gibson Desert Homelands by the State Government and Federal Weapons Research Establishment and relocated in surrounding communities. With other desert people, they were relocated to protect them from death or injury from the "blue streak" rocket debris, which fell over a vast area of Central Australia during the rocket research programmes of the 1960's and 70's.

After the programmes had been closed own in the late 1970's, the Desert people began to return to their homelands and to their traditional way of life.

Patjarr has fly in fly out bush tucker tours with the local people. Camping facilities, which are free, but a permit is required to stay. The Heritage trail encompasses varying types of terrain and vegetation unique to this area. You will have the opportunity to see rockholes, amazing rock formations and many other features in the Clutterbuck Hills. You can enjoy various types of bush tucker during the tour. The Bundaltjarra Trail is a short tour if your time is limited, travelling through desert country, down into a "break-a-way" to the Bundaltjarra Rockholes. High quality aboriginal art and popular craft items are for sale and the office contains a display of local items of Patjarr's heritage.

Part of the road leading to Patjarr is the notorious Gun Barrel Highway. This highway veers off to the east before reaching Patjarr. This road is relatively untouched and any travellers are warned to proceed with great caution along this road.

Contact Details

Community Address

Patjarr Aboriginal Corporation

C/- Warburton PMB 141

via Alice Springs NT 0872.

Telephone Numbers

Office/Store Telephone: 8956 7900

Advisor's Telephone: 8956 7472

Health Clinic satellite telephone number 0145 110962 8956 7912

Radio Call Sign

6 ALPHA INDIA TANGO via Alice Springs RFDS 08 8952 5355.

The Community Advisor operates a regular morning radio schedule with Warburton Community, usually each morning after 9.00 am Western Standard Time (WST).

Community Location

Within Ngaanyatjarraku Shire area, Western Australia.

Lat: 24 degrees 36.8 min. South

Long: 126 degrees 19.35 min. East.

Patjarr is 243 kms north north west of Warburton by road, or 92 nautical miles by direct airline, and located in the Clutterbuck Hills just north of Lake Newell.

The community uses Western Standard Time.

Community Airstrip

  • 1.8 kilometre runway. 1500 feet above sea level.
  • Compacted gravel runway.
  • All weather.
  • Night operations with flares and reflectors for emergency evacuations.

Road Access

  • 235 kilometres from Warburton.
  • Dirt road. In good condition. Gravel has been laid over difficult sand dune and swamp sections. Now generally all-weather.
  • Ngaanyatjarraku Shire Council maintains road.
  • Road has very little usage.



TV and radio dish receives one channel and ABC for re-broadcasting.


The Health Clinic has a satellite telephone for emergency use.

Community Store

Large new store completed May 1997. Also large separate storage shed.

Managed by Community Development Advisor.

Assisted by Community shop assistants paid from CDEP funds.

Supplies come in weekly to Warburton via Ngaanyatjarra Agency and Transport Service truck from Perth.

Community Advisor's vehicle ferries in dry goods weekly from Warburton to Patjarr.

Community Women's Facilities

A small shed has been allocated for Women's activities.

Community Ambulance Service

Nursing Sister's vehicle fitted with radio and used for medical transport as necessary.

Community Emergency Evacuation

Royal Flying Doctor Service Kalgoorlie carries out emergency evacuations as necessary.

Community Mechanical Workshop/Depot

Partly equipped.

Staff Housing

There are three (3) staff houses.

Visitors Accommodation

Visitor's residence, modified Nomad, 3 bedroom.

Visitors accommodation is also provided in a 3-berth, fully serviced caravan.


Community Store

Managed by the Community Development Advisor.

Employs several community people paid from CDEP.

Stock and equipment obtained as necessary from Ngaanyatjarra Agency and Transport Service, Perth.

Also weekly dry goods trip Patjarr/Warburton in Advisor's utility.

Community Farm

This project was commenced as part of the Community CDEP Works Programme, but was later stopped by the Western Australian Water Authority on the basis that it was wasteful of the community's water supply.


Community people state that there are vast areas of sandalwood located some 50 kilometres north of Patjarr that could possibly provide good income to the community.

Road access would be necessary and machinery and a truck, to allow development of this potential enterprise.

A feasibility study would need to be completed as soon as possible into this proposal.


Community Management

A Governing Committee of the Chairman and four Committee members (or more members, should the Association so decide) meets as often as it considers necessary to consider community business, and minutes of each meeting are kept.

The Governing Committee must hold an Annual General Meeting within three months after each 30th June, to consider the Association's finances, appoint a new Committee and Chairman, and appoint an Auditor.

Community Administration

The Community Advisor is the only resident administrative person at Patjarr.

His or her duties include -

  • Day to day community management
  • Operation of the community power supply
  • Operation of the community water supply
  • Supervision of the CDEP programme
  • Management and operation of the community store
  • Maintenance of the community airstrip
  • Piloting the community aircraft
  • Maintenance of community vehicles.

Resource Agency Assistance to Community

  • Ngaanyatjarra Services (Alice Springs) finance and accounting assistance.
  • Ngaanyatjarra Health Service has provided a new clinic and nurses' flat, and provides a fortnightly visit of a nursing sister from Warburton Clinic.
  • Warburton Community provide CDEP funds.
  • Ngaanyatjarra Agency and Transport Service (NATS), Perth, provide stock and equipment as necessary for the community store.
  • No Ngaanyatjarra Air services into Patjarr.
  • Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku Environmental Health & Building surveyor, makes monthly inspections.

Community Services


A new brick nurse's flat has been constructed at Patjarr.

The Warburton Health Clinic has a full-time residential sister who provides health clinic service to the Community.

RFDS make regular monthly visits for Doctor's Clinic.

Community School Facilities:

A school and a new school house has been built at the community.

Community Training Programmes

There are no formal community training programmes in operation in this community.

The CDEP programme provides on-the-job training for all community residents employed on CDEP projects. This is provided as an integral part of CDEP.

Law/Order And Justice Services

Police come from Laverton, if necessary.

Full Time Employment

CDEP provides the only regular, weekly income-producing work for community people.

CDEP Scheme is funded from Warburton.

Employment Programmes

CDEP pays wages of community store workers.

1 full-time and 1 part-time position in the community workshop.

Essential Services

Community Sewerage

One (1) septic in Health Clinic.

All other 16 toilets are long drop pit latrines.

These have been found to be the most suitable for the community, as the leach drains of septics do not appear to operate satisfactorily in the unique soil type of the area.

Community Rubbish Collection

CDEP project.

Community Water Supply

  • 2 bores - solar.
  • Located 1.7 kilometres from community.
  • Water has slightly high nitrate content.
  • Another bore (diesel/electric) is located near the bore currently in use.
  • The Water Authority of Western Australia (WAWA) is the responsible authority.

Community Power Supply

  • Two (2) generators - both small.
  • 20 KVA (is no longer adequate for increased demand) and 40 KVA diesel generators.
  • 24 hour power.
  • Reliable.
  • Can only operate one unit at a time.
  • Manual control. No automatic cut-in.
  • State Electricity Commission of Western Australia (SECWA) is the responsible authority


Patjarr or Karilywara is located in the Clutterbuck Hills between Lake Cobb and Lake Newell, 240km north west of Warburton. The residents are Pintupi speaking people.

In 1965 geologists working for Union Oil Development Corporation recorded many sightings of Aborigines still living a traditional lifestyle around the Clutterbuck Hills. In 1968 the ethnographic film-maker Ian Dunlop of Film Australia together with the anthropologist Robert Tonkinson documented the traditional subsistence activities of the Pintupi people living in the Clutterbuck Hills.

The Pintupi people who now live at Patjarr were one of the last groups of Aboriginal people in Australia to be contacted by non-Aboriginals. Native Patrol Officers were bringing people into Warburton Mission from this area as late as the early 70s. At this time, many Warburton residents had become more "sophisticated" in European ways through their contact with the mission and the Pintupi were often ridiculed for their "bush" manners and customs. Feeling uncomfortable and unwelcome, many left to live in fringe camps on the edge of gold mining towns like Wiluna.

In 1979 a large group of Pintupi people from Warburton camped at Tika Tika rockholes just south of Patjarr, for two months while they made a “cutline” (vehicle track) to their traditional water sources. This involved the construction of a 90 kilometre hand hewn road from the Gunbarrell Highway. By the late 1980s a slow return to their homelands had begun.

Whilst they had been away, a large portion of their country had been declared a Nature Reserve (Gibson Desert Nature Reserve) without their knowledge or consent. A Nature Reserve prohibits hunting and gathering activities and the construction of living areas. In 1993 the Ngaanyatjarra Council on behalf of the Pintupi lodged a submission to have an excision for a permanent living area in the Nature Reserve. The community and the area surrounding it was then returned to the traditional owners under lease from the Aboriginal Lands Trust.

By 1993 a large group of people were living at the outstation without a mechanised water supply, no fabricated buildings and no electricity or store goods. Today Patjarr community has houses, a permanent water supply, store and clinic facilities. In 1995 Patjarr Community became an incorporated community and member of the Ngaanyatjarra Land Council.