Warri & Yatungka (Last of the Nomads)Print Page Print this page

Warri & Yatungka : 03-October-2011
Warri & Yatungka : 03-October-2011
Photographs supplied by Peter Reeve
The "Last of the Nomads" statue is the town’s tribute to Warri (1909 - 1979) and Yatungka (1917 - 1979), believed to be the last desert nomads who lead a traditional lifestyle.

Warri and Yatungka were believed to be the last of the Mandildjara tribe and were perhaps Australia’s last desert nomads leading the traditional Indigenous lifestyle. Long after the Mandildjara people (known also as Martu) had gravitated to urban settlements this couple survived for decades on their own, hunting and eating native fruits.

Warri and Yatungka met in the 1930’s and fell in love, but Indigenous tribal law forbade them from marrying. So to avoid severe physical punishment or even death, the star-crossed lovers ran away together in the middle of the night. Living in isolation, the couple had three children – only two of which survived in the harsh outback conditions.

Despite Warri and Yatungka’s defiance and departure, the Mandildjara elders constantly worried about their welfare. When a severe drought hit the region in 1977, local Indigenous elder, Mudjon, and white explorer, Stan Gratte, set out to find “the last of the nomads”. After several weeks they were found, close to starvation in the Gibson Desert, and brought back to Wiluna. The Indigenous elders forgave Warri and Yatungka, and they remained in Wiluna until 1979, when they passed away within weeks of each other. Their deaths marked the end of an Indigenous lifestyle that stretched back more than 40,000 years.


Address:Goldfields Highway, Wiluna, 6646
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -26.595933
Long: 120.223067
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Thursday 4th October, 2007
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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