Selling Yarns 2

Innovation for sustainability



John Greatorex

Coordinator,Yolngu Studies, School of Indigineous Knowledge Systems, Charles Darwin University


John is Coordinator of the Yolngu Studies Program at Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory, Australia. In 1978 John first met the Mäpuru families when he began teaching at the Galiwin'ku school on Elcho Island. John spent every afternoon and weekend visiting the families of the children in his class. Some children from Mäpuru on the mainland had travelled to Galiwin’ku to attend school. These students were different; they had their own special ‘gakal’, an expression of their attachment to their Home-Lands. For the next 30 years John’s relationship with these students and their families continued to grow.

John resigned from teaching at the Galiwin’ku school in 2003, to concentrate on advocacy for Home-Land residents. In the process he was offered a position at Charles Darwin University teaching in the Yolngu studies program. In 2005 the Yolngu studies team won the Prime Minister's Award for the best tertiary teaching program in Australia.

See also: Abstract of John Greatorex's paper:
The place to weave: the story of Arnhem Land weavers