Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Surf’s up in Yirrkala

Joint Media Release with:

  • Warren Snowdon MP - Member for Lingiari

The remote Northern Territory community of Yirrkala is celebrating the opening of its Surf Club today which is up and running three years ahead of schedule thanks to the hard work and determination of local people.

The Walngawu Djakamirri Surf Lifesaving club at Shady Beach has been established as part of a local community campaign to reduce the number of drownings and water-related injuries.

Since the introduction of the water safety program in 2007, there have been four incidents where swimmers in difficulty have been rescued by young people trained under the program.

Working with Surf Life Saving NT, the water safety program now includes beach sports, board and surf ski paddling, ironman races, beach relays and the introduction of a lifesaving service.

As well as keeping swimmers safe in the water, the program is keeping local children fit and encouraging volunteering and community service. It’s also been credited with helping students finish school and find jobs.

The Australian Government today provided the community with a further $50,000 for an inflatable rescue boat, spare motor, trailer and other equipment.

This will build on the $139,000 in funding already provided by the Australian Government to support the growing community club.

The funds have been used to deliver surf lifesaving programs, open water and pool activities and to provide much needed equipment including a surfboat, two sets of double water skis and trailers.

At today’s official opening, the Walngawu Djakamirri surfboat was also launched.

The boat has been painted with a traditional ‘flowing water’ design by local Yolngu artist, Dhuwarrwarr Marika, and includes images of colourful fish painted by local children.

Almost 90 children in the Yirrkala community have already completed their Surf Rescue Certificate and are just one step away from joining the nine other children in the community who’ve been awarded Bronze Medallions.