Balgo viewed from the air
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Balgo is a small Aboriginal community in Western Australia that is linked with both the Great Sandy Desert and the Tanami Desert. The Community is in the Shire of Halls Creek, off the Tanami Road (formerly known as the Tanami Track). It has a petrol station, supermarket, Catholic Parish, School (K–10), Adult Education Centre, Clinic and Police Station. At the 2006 census, Balgo had a population of 460.
Balgo was previously known as Balgo Hills. It is possible that the name comes from the kukatja for rice grass - palkurr-palkurr, which grows on the hills at 'Old Mission' a former site of the Community. The mission was established by German Catholic missionaries in 1942, after moves from earlier unsatisfactory sites.
The town is famous for its artists' cooperative which was established when some of the original members of the Papunya Tula movement were allowed to leave Papunya. Some of the artists from Balgo include Susie Bootja Bootja Napaltjarri, Topsy Gibson Napaljarri, Eubena Nampitjin, Elizabeth Nyumi, Boxer Milner, Tjumpo Tjapanangka and Helicopter Tjungurrayi.
The Kukatja language is spoken by many Balgo people, both young and old (2007). Luurnpa school includes the Walkala Centre where reading books are written, illustrated and read onto CD or DVD in both Kukatja and English. The school has published a comprehensive Kukatja dictionary based on the work of several linguists.
The community is in the Determined Tjurabalan People (WC95/74) Native Title claim area. It is managed through its incorporated body, Wirrimanu Aboriginal Corporation, incorporated under the Aboriginal Councils and Associations Act 1976 on 6 September 1984. Balgo Layout Plan No.3 was prepared in accordance with State Planning Policy 3.2 Aboriginal Settlements. Layout Plan No.3 was endorsed by the community on 30 June 2005 and the Western Australian Planning Commission on 4 October 2005.
Balgo Layout Plan No. 3 was prepared in accordance with State Planning Policy 3.2 and was endorsed by the community and the WAPC in 2005.
Balgo, Western Australia Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.