Yiriman Project

2012 winner

The Yiriman Project started when Karajarri, Nyikina, Mangala and Walmajarri elders in the West Kimberley became concerned about young people who were harming themselves with drugs and ‘grog’ and getting in trouble with the law. They set up the project to help take young people, elders and other members of the community on trips to country. It has variously been described as a ‘youth diversionary program’, a ‘cultural maintenance project’ and ‘a way to heal young people, heal country and heal community’.

“Yiriman is addressing a vital need in an innovative, well-structured and cost-effective manner. I have yet to see a project with clearer or more effective ownership by the elders, or with stronger cultural underpinnings. I could see the Yiriman model being replicated in other parts of the Kimberley and the country at large — to the benefit of young indigenous people and the future wellbeing of their communities.”

Gary Banks, former Chair, Productivity Commission and IGA Judge

“When you on Country, you walk with a spring in your step, you walk with your head high, you not afraid of anything. In order to find yourself you have to get lost. Best place to get lost is Country.”

William Watson, Yiriman Cultural Boss