Kiwirrkurra is in the “tali” (sandhill) country of the Gibson Desert in the far north of the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, approximately 850km west of Alice Springs and 180km west of Kintore. The community is in the Shire of East Pilbara in Western Australia but the closest neighbouring community is Kintore / Walungurru, in the NT. All Kiwirrkurra residents are Pintupi-speaking people, though many have close family ties with the residents of other Ngaanyatjarra communities.
In the early 1980s Kiwirrkurra was established as an outstation to help facilitate the Pintupi people’s desire to return and live on traditional homelands. In 1984 the Pintubi Nine became the last known group of traditional Indigenous Australians to make contact with Western society. The family of nine had lived a traditional nomadic life in the desert until they entered Kiwirrkurra to be reunited with their extended family. Many of the group and their descendants still reside in the community.
Kiwirrkurra Community became affiliated with the Ngaanyatjarra Council in 1988. Kiwirrkurra is built on a clay pan, a low-lying area with poor drainage. In 2001 extensive flooding forced the evacuation of the entire population to Kintore, then Alice Springs, and finally to Morapoi Station 2000km south-southwest of Kiwirrkurra. 18 months later the residents were able to move back to Kiwirrkurra, having gained native title over 42,900sq km of their land in the meantime.
The community has a health centre, a store, a Ngaanyatjarra Lands school, women’s centre and an art centre. WDNWPT (Purple House) also provides a renal dialysis service from the Health Centre.