The Tjirrkarli Community is not Aboriginal Freehold Land. It holds a 99-year lease from the Western Australian Aboriginal Lands Trust, as do the other Ngaanyatjarra communities. It was an outstation from Warburton which is located near Lake Breaden, which is one of the many salt lakes in the area.

Contact Details

Community Address

Tjirrkarli Community

PMB 35

via Alice Springs NT 0872

Telephone Number

  • Office 8956 7686
  • Clinic 8956 7683
  • School 8956 7606

Facsimile Number

  • 8956 7627

Radio Call Sign

Callsign FIA Mobile 1. VJQ Frequency 53601

Community Location

Tjirrkarli is located within the Ngaanyatjarraku Shire, Western Australia.

at Lat 25 degrees 59.16 minutes south

Long 128 degrees 17.20 minutes east (GPS)

Community uses Western Standard Time.

Community Airstrip

  • Located 500 metres from Community.
  • Runway is 1.8 kilometers.
  • Gravel surface.
  • All weather.
  • Has concrete refuelling pad, passenger shelter, toilet.

Road Access

  • 140 kilometres of good all weather gravel road links Tjirrkarli with Warburton.
  • 600 kilometres of formed gravel road links Tjirrkarli to Laverton.
  • 800 kilometres of dirt road links Tjirrkarli with Wiluna.

Road maintenance by Ngaanyatjarraku Shire, and Ngaanyatjarra Services.


Hall/Community Centre

Large hall with gymnasium equipment.


Has BRACs facility. TV. Video camera equipment.

Satellite Communication

Has satellite dish for TV, fax, 'phone.

Community Laundry

Has one (2) token-operated washing machine.

Community Toilets/Ablutions

The Community has seven (7) ablution facilities.

Community Store

Large Community Store. Employs two (2) community people, on CDEP wages. Supplied by Ngaanyatjarra Agency and Transport Service Perth. Monthly resupply. Operates community fuel agency.

Community Women's Facilities

Community has a Women's Centre. Used for training in sewing, dressmaking, batik.

Community Ambulance Service

Health vehicle used as necessary.

Community Emergency Evacuation

RFDS Kalgoorlie provide emergency evacuations as and when necessary.

Airstrip is all-weather and has electric lights.

Community Mechanical Workshop/Depot

Workshop used for maintenance of community vehicles.

CDA supervises work of CDEP employees.

Community Fuel Depot

Community fuel depot owned and operated by community store.

  • Has overhead storage tank for 21000 litres, diesel.
  • Has underground storage tank for 10000 litres, Avgas.


The community store and a small sandalwood enterprise provide limited employment opportunities for some community members.

Employment is available in the community motor vehicle workshop.


Community Management

Tjirrkarli Governing Committee. To be not less than five (5) members. Meet as necessary to consider community business, but at least once every three (3) months.

Community Administration Services

Community Development Advisor (CDA) is responsible to the Community Council (Governing Committee) for the day-to-day management of the Tjirrkarli Community.

CDA supervises workshop and maintenance of community vehicles.

Resource Agency Assistance To Community

  • Ngaanyatjarra Council Services, book-keeping.
  • Ngaanyatjarra Services for construction and road maintenance, building.
  • Ngaanyatjarra Council Solicitor for legal services.
  • Ngaanyatjarra Health Service for community clinic and resident nurse.
  • Ngaanyatjarra Air for twice-weekly air service to Alice Springs.
  • Ngaanyatjarra Agency and Transport Service, Perth, for servicing of community stores. Re-supply each month for freezer and dry goods.
  • Fuel. Ampol Alice Springs.

Community Services


  • Community Clinic.
  • Resident Nursing Sister.
  • Funded and managed by Ngaanyatjarra Health Service, Alice Springs.
  • Employs one Aboriginal health worker. Employs one Aboriginal cleaner.
  • RFDS, Kalgoorlie makes fortnightly clinic visits.
  • Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku Environmental Health & Building surveyor, makes monthly inspections.
  • The community uses current dog immunisation programme to improve condition of their dogs.

Community School Facilities

Community has government primary school.

  • 21 students.
  • 2 teachers.
  • 1 teacher's aid. Three educational workers.
  • 5 high school students attending school in Adelaide.

Law/Order And Justice Services

Police from Laverton visit the Community monthly, and as required.

Employment Programmes

CDEP is the main community employment programme at Tjirrkarli. The CDEP programme funds employment positions in the community store and the community sandalwood enterprise.

The Community CDEP Programmes are managed by the CDA.

Essential Services

Community Sewerage

There are 15 septic tanks in the community.

Community Rubbish Collection

Community rubbish is collected in rubbish bags as a CDEP Works Project.

Ngaanyatjarraku Shire Council contributes quarterly funds for maintenance of community rubbish tip.

Community Water Supply

Community water supply is from 2 bores, located about 1 kilometre from community.

  • 1 bore with electric pump.
  • 1 bore with solar pump.
  • Water quality is excellent. Constant supply and pressure.
  • 20000 litre storage.
  • Fortnightly water checks made by ESO

Community Power Supply

  • 3 diesel generators. 1 large, 2 small.
  • Reliable 24 hour power.
  • Regular Power Authority checks on quarterly basis.


Tjirrkarli is located in the "rirra" (plateau of ironstone pebbles) country, north west of Warburton. It lies between Lake Breaden and Lake Gillen. The community takes its name from a site nearby which is associated with a Dreaming story concerning native yams (tjirrkarli).

The community was established in the 1980s in the vicinity of a bore put down by Shell Oil. The company was searching for oil and constructed an extensive network of seismic lines, some of which are now used as main access roads to the community or as hunting tracks.

Twenty years had passed since traditional owners in Irrunytju and Tollu worked for rations and camped nearby to ensure no sites were damaged. By the 1980's the Ngaanyatjarra Council had been formed to serve the political needs of the Ngaanyatjarra people. One of its first jobs was the negotiation of an agreement with Shell Oil to ensure that no sacred sites or sites of significance were disturbed or damaged during the exploration work in the Tjirrkarli area. Resources were provided by the company to allow a scouting team of traditional owners and anthropologists to work with the company surveyors as they cleared and flagged proposed seismic lines.

During this time a growing number of traditional owners who had lived most if not all of their lives in the goldfields region (their parents having left the Tjirrkarli region as early as the 1930-40s and gone to Mount Margaret Mission) began to slowly return. Some traditional owners who were living at Warburton had already left there and set up an outstation near Mt Samuel called Mangi, not far from Tjirrkarli. An accidental death and poor quality water from the Mangi bore precipitated a move further west to Tjirrkarli. Others upon hearing about the newly established community came from Cosmo Newberry and as far away as Wiluna. The community became incorporated and a member of the Ngaanyatjarra Council in 1987.