The Traditional Owners of Dambimangari Country are sharing a unique heritage of land and sea, treasured by our community for more than fifty thousand years. The custodians of this land are the keepers of a special region. Ancient rock art from the oldest culture in the world, breathtaking coastal scenery, bountiful wildlife and breeding grounds for humpback whales. These are the remarkable features of an untapped wilderness.
The Dambimangari 1,500 kilometre coastline is accessible only from the ocean. The men and women who serve as rangers for the Dambimangari people play a key role in the management of a place once described by Natural Historian Sir David Attenborough as Australia’s most unusual natural wonder. The Dambimangari Native Title Determination covers 16,040 square kilometres of land and 11,896 square kilometres of sea dotted with more than 1,800 islands – or more than 20% of all Western Australia’s islands.
The Dambimangari Traditional Owners welcome visitors who want to know more about our country and our traditions. However, we ask that visitors respect our culture and abide by our code of conduct.
Art for the ages
Some of the world’s finest rock art is found in our country reflecting a rich and complex culture tied to the history of our people in the Lalai (the dreamtime). Maintaining and protecting this artwork has been a priority for Dambimangari people. Skilled Traditional Owners have been charged with the difficult task of maintaining the integrity of rich drawings from an ancient era.
Leading Dambimangari artist Yornadaiyn (Donny) Woolagoodja produced a series of spectacular works for the Sydney Olympics opening ceremony in 2000. The huge paintings and designs – based on Dambimangari art and culture – were a highlight of the ceremony watched by billions of people around the world.
Horizontal marvel – a race against the tide
The Kimberley region has some of the most spectacular scenery in Australia. Although the region is remote, the rewards of flying or sailing to Dambimangari country can be breathtaking. Features like the horizontal falls, or Garaanngaddim (a dramatic tidal exchange through the cliffs of the coastline) picturesque caves, marine life breeding grounds, sanctuaries for humpback whales, dugongs, dolphins and crocodiles are all part of a unique experience.
Protecting our heritage
The priority for the Dambimangari custodians of country is to ensure a sustainable future for the people and wildlife, based on a Visitors Pass system for Dambimangari country. The group’s ranger team is working with State and Federal Government authorities and western scientists to protect the region’s wildlife and an unspoiled environment – former home to their ancestors.
Dambimangari saltwater people
The Dambimangari are “Saltwater People” from traditional coastal communities in the Kimberley. We are part of an ancient civilisation based on land and sea country which supported a rich and sustainable lifestyle in one of the most spectacular regions of Australia. As Saltwater People, we developed skills and seafaring capabilities which gave our Traditional Owners access to Dambimangari sea country.
Sustainable hunting, fishing, land management and cultural engagement were the bedrock of a flourishing lifestyle before the arrival of European settlers. Today Dambimangari Rangers are playing a key role in the management of the Lalang-garram marine parks which are helping to sustain the future of vital sanctuaries for humpback wales, dugongs and dolphins.
Visiting Dambimangari country
Since 2020, visitors to our country have been paying a Visitors Pass to help fund the management of the region with rangers helping to protect the important sites on the list of visitor locations.
As Dambimangari Traditional Owners, we welcome visitors to our country, but we ask everyone to follow the straightforward rules outlined in the Visitor Location Schedule. These legally enforceable rules and processes outlined on our Code of Conduct have been designed to ensure that visitors are safe and respectful to our culture and environment.
If you would like to visit Dambimangari Country, you will need a Visitors Pass – requiring one of three options.
An Accredited Tour Guide – Visitors are encouraged use tour guides with a knowledge of the area’s history and significance. Those sites that have special cultural significance require visitors to be accompanied at all times. For more information about Accredited Tour Guides contact the Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation.
Private holiday makers – Private visitors will be required to buy a pass.
Commercial tour operators – Commercial operators should deal directly with Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation.
What to do
Traditional Owners will only approve site visits identified in the Visitor Location Schedule. You must apply for a Dambimangari Visitors Pass to visit Dambimangari country. Some areas of Dambimangari country are Aboriginal Reserves requiring visitors to apply to the State Government Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage for an Aboriginal Land Trust Permit (or an ALT Permit, colloquially referred to as a Transit Permit).
You must first apply for a Dambimangari Visitors Pass for your Aboriginal Land Trust Permit application to be considered. Applications for Aboriginal Land Trust Permits are free. Information available for travellers visiting this website includes a Code of Conduct which must be accepted before a Visitors Pass will be issued. The Visitors Pass fees will support the work of the Dambimangari rangers in protecting this unique heritage for future generations.
For more information
Please contact the Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation at one of the locations listed below –