Yakanarra Community School

Contact Details: 

Yakanarra Community, West Kimberley
PO Box 46
ph:   (08) 9191 7164
fax:  (08) 9191 7147
e-mail:  Principal@yakanarraschool.net.au

Yakanarra Aboriginal Corporation Chairperson:  Mr Bing Crosby
School Council Chairperson:  Mrs Jessie Moora
Principal:  Mrs Helen Unwin


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The community was established in 1989 by the Yakanarra people, returning to their country on Old Cherrabun. Community members realised access to education was integral to the viability of Yakanarra. They established the community controlled school in 1991. The initial school building was a boughshed. This was superseded by a community constructed tin shed. The school has now progressed to the stage where it has modern facilities for students in an inclusive learning environment. Since its beginning Yakanarra Community School has maintained it’s commitment to Walmajarri language and culture as well as equipping students to cope with mainstream culture in order to have real control over their lives.

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Physical Setting: 

Yakanarra Community is situated on a 1 square mile excision on GoGo Station some 80km south of Fitzroy Crossing.  The Community was first established in 1989 and is now home to 150 residents.


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The Community: 

The Yakanarra Community has:

  • An all weather airstrip and road access. The major road link of 130km (50km bitumen) from Fitzroy Crossing can be impassable during the wet season.
  • A well-stocked community store with fresh food being flown in each week.
  • 24 hour electricity generated on site.
  • Excellent clean water supply.
  • A well stocked medical clinic and 24 hour access to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
  • An Adult Education Centre and a Telecentre, which is also a registered homework centre.  Both centres offer a range of activities for residents.
  • The community and school operate a pre school kindergarten and a Homemaker Centre which provides a hot meal to students each day.
  • All weather bitumen roads within the community
  • Telephone, fax and internet access (There is no mobile phone coverage)


Community By Laws stipulate that no alcohol or drugs are to be brought onto, or consumed on, the community and the Community Council is firm in its commitment in maintaining these laws

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Cross Cultural Initiatives 


The school is an independent school governed by a School Council which comprises parents/carers of students.

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The school follows the Western Australian Curriculum Framework, which has an outcomes, focus. Teachers assess students using framework guidelines and maintain accurate records of achievement at each level.

The school follows Accelerated Literacy methodology for reading, writing and spelling. All teachers need to maintain this approach. Professional development and regular consultancy visits to the school ensure that teachers become proficient in this area.


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Physical Resource: 

There are three large classrooms, library, music room, resource room and staff room/office. All rooms are fully air-conditioned.

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The school is registered for pre-primary to year 10.

  • 1 Principal
  • 3 non-Indigenous Teachers
  • 1 Indigenous Teacher
  • 1 full-time Indigenous Teacher Aide

Teachers are assisted by community Aboriginal Education Workers (AEW's)



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School Aims: 

The School has two aims:

  • to teach students the skills they will need as adults to run their Community;
  • to teach Walmajarri language and culture.


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Teaching Conditions: 

Yakanarra Community is a pleasant place to live with stunning sunsets and mild winters. There is 4x4 access to water holes and the Fitzroy River for recreation during the dry season (usually Terms2-4). During vacations you can either laze at Broome or take in the wonders of the Kimberley or return home to catch up with friends and family.


All teachers must hold, or be eligible to hold, Teacher Registration from the Western Australian College of Teaching (09) 92211300 www.wacot.wa.edu.au. If you are a first year teacher you will be registered as a Provisional Teacher. The school can arrange for all processes to enable you to become a fully registered teacher, usually within your first year of teaching.

  • Teachers are employed on yearly (renewable) contracts with a one term’s probation period.
  • Salary, superannuation and conditions are generally as per the Western Australian Independent School Teachers’ Award. The Western Australian Department of Education also supplies a return economy class air-fare to Perth annually for returning teachers.
  • In addition to salary there is a location allowance of $37.80 per week.
  • The School Council also offers teachers an additional $5200 per year allowance to offset extra curricula activities and the remoteness of the locality.
  • Salary Sacrifice is negotiable.
  • The School Council will meet reasonable costs of relocation at the beginning and end of contract periods. This will be discussed during the interview process.
  • Fully equipped teacher housing is available. Current rent is $60 per week and includes water, gas and electricity. All you need bring is linen and personal effects. Staff are expected to maintain their houses and surrounds.

There is a range of resource material available for both teacher reference and use in the classroom. Each staff member is supplied with an Apple Mac Ibook laptop computer with internet access to assist with lesson preparation and record keeping.

Staff are to be involved in extra curricula activities. These may vary according to personal interests/expertise.

Teaches the Walmajarri Language and culture as an integral part of the curriculum.
Staff maintain their classroom.

Attend scheduled professional development activities at various locations eg Broome, Fitzroy Crossing.

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Working in our school: 

Hurtling down a somewhat muddy track, following the extremely dirty rear of a troopie 2 thoughts flashed through my mind: 1. Were we going to make it through without getting bogged? And 2. What on earth had I got myself into?
Thankfully we did make it through that particular adventure and since then I have learnt as much as the students I have taught. Working at Yakanarra Community School has been the best experience of my life. From the first moment I arrived I felt welcomed by the community, students and the other staff at the school.
The kids I teach are very warm, friendly and affectionate. What you see is what you get most of the time. If they like something they let you know, and other hand they also let you know if they don’t like it. They are constantly curious about the world and often learn best when they are doing something. Most of them, even the littlies, are autonomous and have strong ideas about life. They are also extremely caring and loving towards each other and the teachers.
Life out in a remote community is certainly never boring and ‘expect the unexpected’ has become my motto. Some of the more interesting experiences I have had include watching a snake go over a sleeping dog, seeing 20 kids chasing a bull away from the school grounds whilst shouting ‘bullaman, bullaman’ at the top of their lungs and playing in a torrential downpour that resulted in a flash-flood.

Shaylyn Evans

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