Geographical Setting

Wirrimanu (Balgo Hills) is situated in the south-east Kimberley region of Western Australia. The nearest town, Halls Creek, is 260 kilometres north along a low grade, unsealed road, sometimes impassable in the wet.

Wirrimanu lies on the northern edge of the Great Sandy Desert and on the western edge of the Tanami Desert where climatic conditions are harsh with summer temperatures reaching 45 C. Wirrimanu itself is site 460 metres above sea level and its climate is tempered accordingly. The short winters are cool with night temperatures dropping to 5 C and with strong easterly winds blowing from the desert. The average annual rainfall is 315mm, most of which falls in the months of December to March.

The community site is part of the 2.6 million hectares of the Balwina Aboriginal Reserve. The Western Desert Aborigines in their movement towards white settlements spread in a fan shaped crescent to Wyndham and Derby to the north; to Strelley in the west; and to Papunya in the East (Northern Territory). Wirrimanu is the meeting place of the Kukatja tribes from the South, the Walmajarri tribes of the North-West and the Jaru tribe from the North.