A New Look: Ngukurr General Store

Ngukurr community grew out of an Anglican Mission established on the banks of the Roper river in 1908. It is a remote town situated in southern Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, some 300 km’s from the Township of Katherine.

Seven different clans and language groups are represented in the town, with Kriol being the most common collective language spoken. The area where the community was established was known to local Aboriginal people as Mirlinbarrwarr. The 2016 census lists the Ngukurr population at 904 people.

Indigenous peoples in the Roper river area refer to themselves as Yugul Mangi. The Yugul Mangi Aboriginal Corporation works closely with the Roper Gulf Regional Council and Outback Stores to provide services and economic opportunities in Ngukurr and the surrounding areas.

Ngukurr can often have logistic supply issues given its remote location and catastrophic wet weather events. Cyclones and heavy wet season rainfall often isolate the community creating an island surrounded by water. Getting things done over the wet season has been extremely challenging.

Eight years ago, the directors of Yugul Mangi Aboriginal Corporation devolved their dream; a new store. They wanted to see food security for the community, even throughout the unpredictable wet season. They were tired of broken promises to build a new store.

Image: Ngukurr General Store Chairperson Bobby Nunggumajbarr.

The Yugul Mangi Corporation had a dream built on $3 Million of hard-earned profit generated from their run down and dilapidated old store. They wanted a fully serviced supermarket that could meet the needs of the community over the next 30 years. These same people had invested their money into that dream by being regular shoppers at Ngukurr General Store over many decades.

The Directors of Yugul Mangi Corporation had strong long-term relationships with members of the Outback Stores senior leadership team. After much discussion, all agreed that a new store was overdue. 12 months was agreed on as a timeframe to build and open the new store.

Outback Stores delivered on time and within budget. A brand-new store was opened that would be the envy of any rural township. It is the pride of the residents of Ngukurr community; the Yugul Mangi.

It is the pride of Outback Stores and one of the flagship Stores that we honour in our 10th year of operation. Outback Stores has not only assisted in building a new store but more importantly a long-term sustainable relationship with the community, that is still strong today!

This year the Yugul Mangi signed a five-year extension of their management agreement with Outback Stores. We look forward to working together closely in the future in achieving our shared goals of a financially strong store that delivers improved employment, health and economic outcomes for the residents of the Ngukurr community.