If you’re looking for an offbeat destination with stunning scenery and vibrant local culture, the Tiwi Islands are a great option. These privately-owned islands are not Crown land or public land, so visitors need a permit to access them. The best way to explore the Tiwi Islands is through a guided tour. Here’s what you can expect from Tiwi Islands Aboriginal Culture Tours, as well as some fascinating facts about the islands.
Tiwi Islands Aboriginal Culture Tours: What To Expect?
The Tiwi Islands are a group of 10 islands located off the coast of Northern Territory, Australia. The tours offer a unique glimpse into Aboriginal culture. Here are what you can expect from Tiwi Islands Tours:
This is a small community on the southern coast of Bathurst Island. This community is also home to Tiwi Designs, an art corporation that involves around 100 indigenous artists. Tiwi Designs provides beautiful fabric, carvings, ceramics, prints and paintings. They aim to promote and preserve Tiwi culture.
Wurrumiyanga is also home to Bima Wear, which is a clothing company that makes clothes from fabric that the Tiwi people make. The fabric is colorful and has stunning patterns and designs. On your tour, you can visit workshops and watch the Tiwi people make the fabric, as well as other art, like paintings, prints, and etchings.
Patakijiyali Culture Museum
On your tours, you will also get to visit a museum called the Patakijiyali Culture Museum. This museum is dedicated to preserving Tiwi history, language, and culture. It holds records of important information about the Tiwi dreamtime and spirituality, as well as the Catholic Mission. At this museum, you can learn everything you need to know about Tiwi people, including language, history, and culture through interpretive design and displays.
Tiwi Islands Old Church Precinct
On your tours of the Tiwi Islands, you’ll also get to visit this historic church. It was built by missionaries and Tiwi people in the early 1900s. The radio shed at the church was the first to report the incoming Japanese during the bombing of Darwin in World War II. This is also a great way to learn about the local people and their religious beliefs.
The Aborigines of the Tiwi Islands in Australia use Pukamani poles in their burial rituals. And they also serve as beautiful pieces of art! These poles are carved from ironwood and then decorated with a white clay, black charcoal, and grinded yellow or red ochre mixed with water and glue.
Immediately upon arrival to the Tiwi Islands, the natives will welcome visitors with a smoking ceremony. This is an important traditional practice that promotes healing in their culture. They believe this is a way to heal the spirit, purify minds and cleanse bad spirits away. This custom involves burning various native plants to produce smoke. Make sure you go to the smoke because this is there gift to you!
Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories
Tiwi folklore is an essential part of the Tiwi Islands experience that you cannot miss. There is no better way to learn about a culture than through its folklore. And the Tiwi Islands are rich in stories. These stories will give you a greater understanding of the Tiwi people. For instance, you’ll hear about the story of the woman who created the main Tiwi Islands of Bathurst and Melville, as well as many other fascinating stories.
Trivia Highlight: Interesting Facts About Tiwi Islands
Here are some interesting facts about Tiwi Islands you can use to impress your friends:
- The Tiwis has 200 species of ant found nowhere else in the world
- Upon arrival to Wurrumiyanga, a Romolo will greet you. Romolo is a Tiwi elder, dancer, and hunter
- Nearly 90% of the population are Aboriginal Australians
- The Tiwi Islands were separated from mainland Australia 6000-8000 years ago, with the melt of the Ice Age
- Wurrumiyanga is the largest community in the Tiwi Islands with a population of approximately 1500 people
- The Tiwi Islands Football League boasts 8 teams and the grand final held in March each year is a great community event