Warrabri was established as a government settlement 100 kilometres south of Tennant Creek in 1956. It replaced the Phillip Creek Native Settlement. Missionaries from Australian Baptist Home Mission provided welfare services at Warrabri from 1957. A school for Aboriginal children was established but it does not appear that dormitories operated at Warrabri. In 1978 the land title of the settlement was officially handed to the traditional owners. Warrabri ceased to operate as a government settlement and became known as Ali Curung.
Warrabri was established as a government settlement in 1956 to replace Phillip Creek Native Settlement. Run by the Welfare Branch of the Northern territory Administration, it was situated 24 miles south east of Wauchope, more than 100kms South of Tennant Creek.
Work began on the site in 1954, with two bores being sunk for water, and in 1955 the settlement was laid out and the first four staff residences constructed. By June 1956 all residents of the Phillip Creek Native Settlement had been transferred to the new settlement at Warrabri and Phillip Creek was closed. Missionaries from Australian Baptist Home Mission provided welfare services at Warrabri from 1957. It does not appear that the dormitories for Aboriginal children that operated at Phillip Creek continued to operate at Warrabri. A school was established for Aboriginal children as well as training facilities for young adults.
A 1958-59 NT Administration Report states that 368 adults and children were resident at the settlement.
By 1977 it was reported that 200 children between 3 and 17 were attending the Warrabri School.
With the passage of the Aboriginal Land Rights (N.T.) Act 1976, reserve land was returned to the traditional owners. The official handover of the land title for reserve at Warrabri occurred on 4 September 1978. Warrabri came under the control of a Lands Trust run by the local Aboriginal Community. It became known as Ali Curung and ceased to operate as a Government Settlement.
1945 - 1956 Phillip Creek Native Settlement
1954 - 1978 Warrabri
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Letterbox - Bits and Pieces Needed', The Australian Women's Weekly, 27 July 1977, p. 63, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article55477512; 'Land titles presented to blacks', The Canberra Times, 5 September 1978, p. 3, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110906801; Northern Territory Police - Ali Curung, with Northern Territory Police, Northern Territory Government, 2010, https://pfes.nt.gov.au/police/police-station-profiles/ali-curung; 'Northern Territory: Protectors /Administration / Welfare Branch reports', in To remove and protect: laws that changed Aboriginal lives, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 2010, http://aiatsis.gov.au/collections/collections-online/digitised-collections/remove-and-protect/northern-territory; Bell, Diane, Daughters of the dreaming, 3rd edn, Spinifex Press, North Melbourne, 2002; Jordan, Rev. Ivan, Baptists in Australia: Brief History of Baptist Ministry to the Indigenous People of Central Australia, Baptists in Australia, 1999, http://web.archive.org/web/20160604192408/http://www.bwa-baptist-heritage.org/bap-ab.htm; Northern Territory Administration Annual Report 1958-59.
Prepared by: Gary George and Karen George
Created: 22 February 2011, Last modified: 25 September 2014