Kalumburu: before and after

Uraro Store in Kalumburu (WA) has got a new look! With new shelving, new fridges and an improved layout, the store now has an increased range of fresh food, pantry items and frozen food.

Clement Maralpabj is the chairperson of Kalumburu Aboriginal Corporation (KAC) and says that the local residents are very happy with the improvements.

“We’ve got more space to do our shopping and there’s more food too.” He adds that the increased range of children’s toys and clothing has also been popular.

Outback Stores has been working in Kalumburu since 2014, when the KAC invited Outback Stores to assist them in lifting store standards and management practices. The recent refurbishments were paid by store profits, which remain with the community for distribution by agreement of the store’s local board of directors.

Shkarra and Matt

Top: Uraro Store after the refurbishments
Bottom: Clement Maralpabj, store director

Everyone is happy with the changes. There’s more food for sale and more toys for the kids. 

– Clement Maralpabi

Kalumburu is the most northerly settlement in Western Australia and is home to around 400 residents, from the Wunambal and Kwini language groups.

Uraro Store is one of the most isolated in Australia. It receives deliveries via a weekly barge from Darwin that takes two days to traverse the Timor Sea and down the King Edward River.  The next closest store is in the town of Kununurra, accessed via a dirt road that is impassable during the wet season.

The Kimberley region of Western Australia saw a one in a hundred year flood in January 2023, when ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie hit northern Australia. The delivery road from the barge to Uraro Store was washed away, leaving the community reliant on helicopter food drops for several months.

Ashley and Karen in Car Photo

Top: Barge deliveries
Bottom: Pallets slung by helicopter from barge to store