About Gunbalanya School
Gunbalanya School is located in the West Arnhem Land across the East Alligator River in the Northern Territory. Gunbalanya School is located in the Kunbarllanjnja community (or Gunbalanya), approximately 320km east of Darwin on the eastern border of Kakadu National Park.
Kunbarllanjnja is a community of approximately 1500; the main language is Kunwinjku, used by many residents as a first language. The traditional owners of the land where the community is located are the Mandjurlngunj clan; there are 25 clan groups in total.
Road access via 4WD is only possible in the dry season. During the wet season, from December to May, Gunbalanya is completely cut-off from the rest of Australia, as rising water from the Alligator River surrounds the township.
To accommodate students’ education requirements along with their customs Gunbalanya School has rearranged its school calendar to align more closely with the indigenous calendar allowing students and families to undertake traditional ceremonies during the dry season by commencing school earlier in the wet season. View the YouTube video on this exciting initiative.
When its lunch time at Gunbalanya school we say "nangaleh kare kangun manme" which means who is going to get the lunch? In Gunbalanya there is plenty of bush tucker for us to find, hunt and catch. Some bush foods are only found in Gudjewk season, which is the wet season this is our term one. We only hunt for ngalmangiyi on the flood plain in Kurrung time which is the end of the dry season, this is our term three and four. A favourite food of students at Gunbalanya School is Manimunak which is the Magpie Goose. When the food tastes good we say "manmanjmak".