Originally Wanarn was an outstation of Warburton and then it became a community and home to most of the older people of the local families and a handful of children. Story of how the crow came to be black is a local story of this community. There was an eagle who had two wives, one a white cockatoo and a white crow. (crows were always white then) The cockatoo was the eagles favourite wife and the crow was jealous. When the eagle went off hunting the crow chased the cockatoo and beat her until she left. The eagle was very angry when he returned to find his favourite wife gone and set fire to the crow, and now crows are black.

Contact Details

Community Address

Wanarn Community (Aboriginal Corporation)

PMB 117, Alice Springs NT 0872

Telephone Numbers

  • Office 8956 7353
  • Clinic 8956 7304
  • School 8956 7703

Facsimile Number

  • 8956 7375

Community Location

Wanarn Community is located in the Ngaanyatjarraku Shire Council area, in the Warburton Ward of the ATSIC Western Desert Regional Council at

Lat. 25 degrees 17.56 mins south

Long 127 degrees 33.37 mins east (G.P.S.)

Wanarn operates on Western Standard Time.

Community Airstrip

Wanarn airstrip is 1950 metres long. It has a sand surface and is not all weather.

It is approved for night emergency operations and has solar powered strip lights. Can handle aircraft up to RFDS Kingair size. Chart Air provide a regular Alice Springs/Wanarn service each Tuesday.

No Avgas

Road Access

Wanarn is located 15 kilometres west of the Great Central Highway. The Great Central Highway is gravel surfaced and is four wheel drive only during wet weather.

Wanarn is 155 kilometres north of Warburton and 100 kilometres south of Warakurna.



There is a radio and television re-transmitting service.

Satellite Communication

Community has 2 satellite dishes for 4 television channels and radio.

Community Laundry

A community laundry is available.

Community Store

The community has a viable store operation, serviced by the Perth-based Ngaanyatjarra Agency and Transport Service.

Children's Facilities

A children's playground is available.

Community Family Services

A Parent/Teacher's Association meets twice per year.

Community Ambulance Service

The community nurse has a troop-carrier which is used for ambulance work as necessary.

Community Emergency Evacuation

The community airstrip, located 2 kms from Wanarn, opened for night emergency operations with solar powered strip lights. Airstrip is not all-weather and can be closed by rain. Road evacuation to nearest all weather airstrip is a two hours' drive on gravel road to Warburton on Great Central Highway. (Four wheel drive in wet weather).

Community Fuel Depot

Operated by Community Store. Diesel and opal fuel available. No Avgas.

  • 21000 litre diesel above ground storage.
  • 11000 litres opal fuel above ground storage.

Community Housing

There are 26 permanent dwellings on the community. 16 are of concrete block construction. 10 are of metal frame and metal cladding construction. These are fully insulated. All are 3 bedroom, with full services (septic sewerage). All are in good repair.

Community Recreational Facilities 

  • 1 football oval.
  • 1 basketball court.
  • Small children's playground.


Community-Run Enterprises

The community operates a small-crops farm which is staffed with CDEP workers. The community store employs Community staff under the CDEP scheme.


High quality artefacts and paintings are continuously being produced by community artists and artisans. Maruku Arts of Yulara make periodic visits to purchase from the community. There is an urgent need for other sales outlets for the local artists' work.


Community Management

Governing Committee of 6-10 members. Includes Chairperson, Secretary and Public Officer. Meetings are held as and when required, to transact community business.

Community Administration Services

The community has a Community Development Advisor who, under the direction of the Governing Committee manages the community office and co-ordinates the day to day management of the community.

He or she is assisted by the Resource Agency, Ngaanyatjarra Services, Alice Springs (financial and construction).

Resource Agency Assistance To Community

Ngaanyatjarra Services, Alice Springs (Accounting and Construction)

Ngaanyatjarra Agency and Transport Services (NATS), Perth-based buying service supplying all Community Store requirements.

Ngaanyatjarra Health Services. Operates Community Health Clinic and provides services of resident nurse.

Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku Environmental Health & Building surveyor, makes monthly inspections.

Community Services


Ngaanyatjarra Health Services provide a Community Clinic and a resident nursing sister. One Aboriginal health worker is employed. One Environmental Health Worker employed.

Royal Flying Doctor Service does emergency evacuations as necessary. Environmental Health Officer from Alice Springs makes monthly visits.

Dog immunisation programme carried out by visiting vet.

Community School Facilities

1 Government pre-primary school located within the community.

  • Has 10 students
  • Has 1 teacher

1 Government primary school located within the community.

  • Has 16 students
  • Has 2 teachers

Teaches from kindergarten to sixth grade.

No high school in community. High school students travel to "CAPS" in Kalgoorlie or Adelaide. This is an unsatisfactory arrangement, and homesick students often return home before completion of term.

  • 1 Teachers Aid employed in community.

Law/Order And Justice Services

Police presence in the community is maintained by as needs and periodic visits from the Warakurna and Warburton police stations. Both are located approximately 140 kms from Wanarn.

Essential Services

Community Sewerage

There are 26 septic tank systems.

Community Rubbish Collection

Rubbish is collected on 3 days each week by Community Development Employment Programme (CDEP). Rubbish is disposed of in an open pit provided by the Ngaanyatjarraku Shire Council.

Community Water Supply

  • 1 bore supply adequate community water. Piped into community from 18 kilometres out. This supply now adequate. Depletion date not known.
  • Water flow rate is 100 litres per minute.
  • New bore supplied 150 cubic metres per day.
  • Water storage is 100,000 litres.
  • Water quality is good, but nitrate level is high.
  • 17 Community houses are connected to water.
  • Water monitoring is done by Community Development Advisor. Monitoring is done on a daily basis.
  • Water power supply is by 3 diesel pumps and 1 solar pump.

Community Power Supply

  • 2 x 70 KVA diesel generator.
  • 1 x 40 KVA diesel generator.
  • Community has 24 hour power. The present generators are too small and as a result the system is overloaded, with noticeable power fluctuation. The generators need to be upgraded to 100 KVA.
  • There is 20,000 diesel fuel storage for the power house


Wanarn is located in the "tali" (sandhill) country 100km north of Warburton. The community is on the dreaming track of the "Kungkarungkalpa" or Seven Sisters. All of its residents are Ngaanyatjarra speaking people. Like other small communities in this region most of its residents lived on the Warburton Mission or later at the Docker River settlement. Some travelled as far afield as the Goldfields region to obtain work but ultimately returned to their traditional country. The close proximity of Warburton Mission allowed many to make frequent journeys back and forth. A senior woman from Wanarn who is now deceased recalled carrying bags of flour on her head and walking almost 80 km in the late 60's from the Warburton Mission to her brothers who were still camped out in their traditional country, just south-east of Wanarn.

The original road from Warburton to Alice Springs was via Linton Bore, east of Warburton Community. Concerns regarding unauthorised access by tourists in the vicinity of Linton Bore resulted in traditional owners closing this section of the road to the public. In the mid 1970's a cutline was made between Warburton and Giles that could be used by the public as an alternative to the old Alice Springs (via Linton Bore) road. This in turn allowed much easier access to the country between Warakurna and Warburton.   The community of Wanarn which is located halfway between Warakurna and Warburton was then established in the late eighties. Residents came from Docker River, Warburton and Warakurna. The community was incorporated and became a member of the Ngaanyatjarra Council in 1989.