Yirrkala is on the east coast of the Gove Peninsula in North East Arnhem Land, 18km south of Nhulunbuy. It is the largest Yolngu community on the Peninsula, with many people living intermittently between Yirrkala and surrounding homelands. The Rirratjingu Clan are the Traditional Owners of Yirrkala. Yolngu Matha is the main language in Yirrkala, but there are different dialects.
The Yirrkala community became well known in 1963, when landowners sent a bark petition to the Australian Government to protest against the Prime Minister’s announcement that a section of their land would be sold for bauxite mining.
Bangarra endeavours to regularly visit communities in North East Arnhem Land, and Yirrkala is the usual location for company performances; a stage is built on the Yirrkala basketball court, close by the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Arts Centre, and the community gathers from far and wide to be a part of this experience. Stories from the people of Yirrkala have inspired many Bangarra productions; Stephen Page's 2016 work Nyapanyapa tells the story of Yolngu Artist Nyapanyapa Yunipingu, who lives and works in the town.