On Country

Great Sandy Desert

Lying between the Kimberley and Pilbara regions in the north of Western Australia, the Great Sandy Desert is the second largest desert in Australia, covering about 284,993 square kilometres.

Ngapangu (water) is sparse in this desert landscape, yet for the traditional custodians of this Country, it is the basis for cultural beliefs and practices that underpin livelihoods and connection to ancestors. These people hold the knowledge to care for the waterholes. During the 20th century, many people left their desert communities to work in the pastoral industry, returning to their homelands during wet season to conduct ceremony and re-connect with their ancestral lands. Changing government policies around labour and land use followed, yet after decades of disruption, many communities are working hard to restore cultural knowledge and connection.

SandSong was inspired by the people and Country of the Kimberly and Great Sandy Desert. Please see the SandSong Study Guide for more information.