College Symbol

Boarding school for Indigenous students twelve years and older from remote communities

HomeCollege Symbol

The College symbol is traditional, and is peculiar to the desert Aborigines of central Australia.

Yirara College was established in 1973 as a government secondary residential college. It was funded under the federal welfare program, specifically for traditionally oriented Aboriginal students residing in isolated Aboriginal communities throughout remote central Australia. At the time of its inception, the College's main purpose was to expose Aboriginal youth to social development through an educational program, designed to help them adjust into western society.

In 1991 the NT government sought expressions of interest from churches as to whether they may wish to assume control of Yirara College. The majority of Aboriginal people living in isolated feeder communities in central Australia clearly and continually stated they wanted Yirara to be a Christian school under the control of Finke River Mission (FRM).


It is the emblem of Yirara College and may be seen throughout the College – at the front entrance, on uniforms, cards and flags. The symbolism is not secret, but permission was asked from all the major Aboriginal communities in central Australia before Yirara adopted it.

The old men were happy to allow Yirara to use it. [This was done by David Odling-Smee, February – August 1973, who travelled to all the major Aboriginal communities.]

The symbol depicts a campsite in the centre, and a man and woman at each end of the campsite fire in the middle. It traditionally signified a stopping place, in the eternal nomadic search for food and sustenance in the questing search for a new transitional lifestyle.

The name Yirara is the Arrarnta name for a creek between the College and Amoonguna.


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