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Pipalyatjara, South Australia

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Title: Pipalyatjara, South Australia  
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Subject: Pitjantjatjara people, Anangu, Kalka, South Australia, Anangu Schools, List of Aboriginal schools in South Australia, Western Desert language, Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara
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Pipalyatjara, South Australia

South Australia

26°9′46″S 129°10′12″E / 26.16278°S 129.17000°E / -26.16278; 129.17000Coordinates: 26°9′46″S 129°10′12″E / 26.16278°S 129.17000°E / -26.16278; 129.17000

Population 123 (2006 Census)[1]
Postcode(s) 5710
Elevation 652 m (2,139 ft)
Location 550 km (342 mi) southwest of Alice Springs
LGA(s) Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara
State electorate(s) Giles
Federal Division(s) Grey
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
37.1 °C
99 °F
5.0 °C
41 °F
222.6 mm
8.8 in

Pipalyatjara is an Aboriginal community in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in South Australia, comprising one of the six main communities on "The Lands" (the others being Amata, Ernabella/Pukatja, Fregon/Kaltjiti, Indulkana and Mimili). At the 2006 census, Pipalyatjara had a population of 123.[1]


Pipalyatjara is situated approximately 550 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs on the Gunbarrel Highway (a rough, unsealed road). Pipalyatjara is approximately 30 kilometres from the junction of the South Australian, Western Australian and Northern Territory borders (known as the Surveyor-General's Corner). The community of Kalka is situated some 15 kilometres away (by road, on the north side of the mountain ridge to which Pipalyatjara lies to the south). Both communities are situated within the Tomkinson Ranges.


Based upon the climate records of the nearest weather station at Giles across the border and slightly to the northwest in Western Australia, Kalka experiences summer maximum temperatures of an average of 37.2 degrees celsius in January and a winter maximum average temperature of 19.9 degrees celsius in July. Overnight lows range from a mean minimum temperature of 23.5 degrees in January to 6.8 degrees in June.

Annual rainfall averages 284.2 millimetres.[2]


Pipalyatjara's population is approximately 140-150 people,.[3][4][5]

The residents are mainly Anangu people who speak mainly Pitjantjatjara as their first language.


Little is known about how the traditional owners and other peoples came to have a settlement at what is now known as Pipalyatjara.

Pipalyatjara was formerly known as Mount Davies, named after the tallest local peak.[6]

Chrysoprase was mined at Pipalyatjara until recently.


Pipalyatjara has an airstrip (to which mail is delivered once a week) and a health facility staffed by 2 nurses, with a doctor from Fregon making regular visits. There are council facilities.

Diesel power generation facilities supply power to the community.

Water is provided from 2 bores and placed in storage tanks for pumping to the community.

The Pipalyatjara Anangu school is a CPC - Year 12 school. Some of the school population come from the Kalka Community, which is situated approximately 15 km from Pipalyatjara. As with the successful programs implemented first at Mimili in October 2006 and Amata in 2007, a swimming pool is proposed for construction at Pipalyatjara with construction to begin in March 2007.[7] The rationale for construction of swimming pools is both to improve public health through the chemicals in the water and regular bathing, but also the incentive to enjoy the facility serving as encouragement to improve school attendance.

Technical and Further Education ("TAFE" for short) opportunities are provided to the community.

There is also a general store supplied weekly via road train.

The Pipalyatjara Women's Complex also functions as a community recreation hall.

The community runs the Ninuku Arts project.[8]

Pipalyatjara has a mechanic workshop to service local vehicles and educate young residents.

Pipalyatjara does not have a permanent police presence. South Australia Police are based at Murpitja, South Australia and run patrols in the area. There is a rudimentary shed structure that serves as a police station when police are present.[9]

As with most APY settlements, Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Special Broadcasting Service television are available.

The Uniting Church in Australia has a congregation in Pipalyatjara.[10]

A mobile polling booth visits Pipalyatjara every 4 years for elections of the Parliament of South Australia.

A permit is required for a member of the public to visit any community on the APY Lands, as they are freehold lands owned by the Aboriginal people.


Further external links

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