Western Australia
Population: 495 (2001 Census)
Established: 1933
Postcode: 6431
Elevation: 459 m (1,506 ft)
LGA: Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku
State District: Kalgoorlie
Federal Division: Kalgoorlie
Mean Max Temp Mean Min Temp Annual Rainfall
37.6 °C
100 °F
5.5 °C
42 °F
247.7 mm
9.8 in
Coordinates: 26°08′07″S 126°34′45″E / 26.135278°S 126.579031°E / -26.135278; 126.579031

Warburton or Warburton Ranges is an Indigenous Australian community in Western Australia, just to the south of the Gibson Desert and located on the Great Central Road (also known as the "Outback Highway") and Gunbarrel Highway.


Australian Broadcasting Corporation research indicated that:

The Aboriginal people of the western desert were nomadic people, moving around in search of food and water. This changed with the arrival of missionaries and the beginning of 'settlement' at Warburton in 1933.


By 1954, between 500 and 700 Aboriginal people were living at Warburton. Children stayed in the children's home and were sent to school where they were taught in English, a policy that contributed to the breakdown of traditional culture. Women and girls were trained in sewing, kitchen skills and cooking, and men made money by collecting dingo scalps or working as shearers or builders for the mission. A nearby copper mine drew even more people to the settlement and by the 1970s the last of the nomadic people had come in from the bush [1].

The settlement has been an Aboriginal mission since 1934, when Will Wade, his wife and his children established the mission under the auspices of the UAM (United Aborigines Mission). It is named after explorer Peter Warburton, the first European to cross the Great Sandy Desert.

The ABC later adds:

In 1973, the United Aborigines Mission handed control of the Warburton settlement to the Aboriginal people, and responsibility for economic development was undertaken by the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority of the state government of Western Australia. Since then, Warburton has worked under the umbrella of the Ngaanyatjarra Council.[1]


Warburton is the centre of a very large Aboriginal reserve, Ngaanyatjarra which is extremely isolated, stretching east to the Northern Territory border. Beyond there the first major settlement is Yulara, near Uluru. The closest town is Laverton 560 km south west along the Great Central Road.

Warburton is situated on the Elder Creek[2].


Climate records have been collected at Warburton Airfield since 1940 [3]. January is the hottest month of the year, with a mean maximum temperature of 37.6 degrees Celsius and overnight minimums of 22.6 degrees. July is the coldest month with a mean maximum temperature of 20.4 degrees and mean minimum temperature of 5.5 degrees.

Average rainfall is 247.7 millimetres, with February tending to be the wettest month and September the driest month. Warburton is therefore more affected by the tropical rain systems from the north of Australia rather than the rain-bearing cold fronts arriving from Antarctica towards the south of Australia.


The demographics of the population are likely matched by the overall data indicated for the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku 2006 Census.

The 2001 Census indicated a population of 571 residents, 91.1% of whom were Indigenous Australians.[4]


Warburton is in the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku [5]. Information on travel and tourism in the area can be found on their website.

Warburton Youth Arts Centre is a community facility which is activated by a year round program, for young people aged between 16–30 years. The program of the Warburton Youth Art Program (WYAP) includes fine art, music and digital recording, fashion and theatre, land and culture, literacy and publishing.

The centre was built in 1994 and its programs have been across various art and cultural forms, subject matter and involving a range of community people. In 2007, a video produced by Warburton Youth Artists Nerida Lane & Prudence Andy won the prestigious Heywire Award [6]. The Youth Arts program is based on empowerment, equality and collaboration. WYAP also utilises the democratising power of youtube[7] The Studio and its programs are currently funded by the Federal Attorney General's Department and occur in the town of Warburton on the Ngaanyatjarra Lands [8].

The local art gallery exhibits Aboriginal paintings from Warakurna Artists, Papalunkutja Artists, Kayili Artists, Tjanpi Weavers and Warburton Youth Arts. The Warburton Arts Project was commenced in 1990 to preserve local tradition and culture [9].

Ngaanyatjarra Community College was opened in August 1996 to provide a range of adult education options for the community. The only current service offered at the college is a telecentre [10].

Warburton is a "dry" community where the use and import of alcohol is prohibited under local by-laws.

Tourists and visitors need a permit from the Ngaanyatjarra Council to enter the town and use any of the highways in the area.


External links

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