Our Land, Heritage and Culture: the Spinifex Story

The Spinifex People are a traditional group of hunter gatherers that were displaced from their traditional homelands in the Great Victoria Desert in Western Australia during the period of the Maralinga Atomic Testing in the 1950’s. Some remained in the desert and the last Spinifex people to come in from the Lands were a family of seven in 1986; the last known Indigenous people to emerge from the desert in Australia!


After the people were moved to Cundeelee Mission in the 1950’s and forced to leave for a government-funded housing settlement at Coonana in the early 80’s (due to a lack of water at Cundeelee), the Spinifex traditional owners commenced their move back to their homealands by establishing an outstation on the Nullarbor called Double Pump. A couple of years later they moved to another bore further north at Yakatunya, then eventually resettled in Tjuntjuntjara in 1988 when a bore was installed. The Spinifex People will never leave their traditional country as their cultural responsibility and obligation is to look after their land, heritage and culture.