Barker College joins with our community at Gunyangara and the whole Gumatj clan of the Yolngu people to mourn the passing of “a giant of the nation”, Galarrwuy Yunupingu.

Our partners, the Yothu Yondi Foundation, announced this morning: Today we mourn with deep love and great sadness the passing of our dearly loved father Yunupiŋu.

The holder of our sacred fire, the leader of our clan and the path-maker to our future.

The loss to our family and community is profound. We are hurting, but we honour him and remember with love everything he has done for us.

We remember him for his fierce leadership, and total strength for Yolŋu and for Aboriginal people throughout Australia. He lived by our laws always.”

The foundation of Dhupuma Barker in 2021 is one of the many significant legacies of Galarrwuy Yunupingu. Designed to provide the djarramakuli (children) with the deep roots of Yolgnu cultural education as well as access to the Australian curriculuam, Dhupuma Barker enables our students to walk safely and confidently in two worlds. With over 40 children attending school every day and with the Djirrikitj Firebirds Robotics Team from Dhupuma Barker qualifying for the upcoming World VEX Robotics Championships in Dallas, Texas, the wonderful success of this school will resonate to future generations, and will show a pathway to practical reconciliation with First Nation Australia based on justice and respect.

All of Barker grieves this news and joins our Dhupuma community and the Gumatj clan with heartfelt prayerful support, and thankfulness to the Lord that we have had the honour of being part of a bigger story.

Vale Yunupingu.

Phillip Heath
Head of Barker College
3 April 2023


* Yunupingu's family has given permission for the use of his surname and photo.  Photo: Peter Eve/Yothu Yindi Foundation.