Burarra people and their land

The People

There are hundreds of groups of Indigenous people living in Australia, each with its own distinct knowledge and stories. These relate to the conditions in each region: the land, the climate, the habitats, the animals and plants, the landscapes and the waters.

The Burarra (‘bur-ah-da’) people have lived on their land for about 40 000 years. From their ecological understandings and spiritual relationships with the land, a complex knowledge has developed that includes a detailed knowledge of the natural world and how to live in it.

The Burarra people are neighbours of the Dangbon, Nakara and Yolngu peoples. Even within the Burarra region there are different lifestyles. For example the diet of coastal groups has an emphasis on seafood while the inland groups have more red meat in their diet.

Map of Burarra Land
Burarra Land is in Australia's Northern Territory
Roll your mouse over the map to zoom in to see Burarra close up. The zoomed map shows a region about 30 km across. Maps by Questacon.

Burarra people maintain their traditional knowledge, continuously adapting to the changing environments of the modern world. The Burarra people want to preserve their knowledge, traditions and land for future generations. They also want to share this knowledge with others.

The Burarra language contributes to the preservation of their way of life, their knowledge and their culture. Burarra is just one of the languages spoken in central north Arnhem Land. It consists of several dialects: Martay Burarra, Maringa Burarra, Anbarra Burarra, Gun-nartpa and Gorragorrni. Between 400 and 600 people speak Burarra today.

The Land

The land of the Burarra people is in central north Arnhem Land in Australia's Northern Territory. It lies about 50 km (31 mi) by air, or 120 km (75 mi) by road east of Maningrida township, and about 530 km (330 mi) east of Darwin. It is 12° south of the Equator on the floodplains and estuaries of the Blyth and Cadell Rivers.

The area includes savannah grasslands, eucalyptus rain forest and tidal mud flats. This tropical region has a wet–dry monsoonal climate.

Bo bo jabarrangapa-nubarrajirra nuburrbona gurda Burarra rom nubinana. (Thankyou for coming to learn about Burarra knowledge.)