Palumpa. NT

Palumpa is an aboriginal community SW of Darwin, operating a pastoral property the abattoir is of vital economic importance to the property as it supplies meat to the local community.

Other Names

  • Wadeye abattoir
  • Port Keats abattoir

Current Operation

  • Currently in operation


  • Palumpa is an aboriginal owned pastoral station 230 km south west of of Darwin, located near a town called Wadeye in the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf. Community living area originally known as Palumpa is now called Nganmarriyanga.

Palumpa #1

Palumpa #2



  • Processes 20 head of cattle a week1



  • Palumpa Pastoral Property was originally established as an offshoot of Port Keats Mission (pg 316)3
  • Property Established as a private company (Pg 333)3
    • directors largely represent the traditional owners of the area4
    • For long periods the station was the only provider to the services of the developing community4
  • Property is situated on some of the best Pastoral land in the Port Keats / Daly River area. (Pg 316)3
    • Covers a wide variety of country.(Pg 399)3
    • Average grazing capacity 1 beast to 50 hectares.(Pg 399)3
    • Takes 5-7 years to produce a 500kg animals (Pg 399)3
    • Run relatively small herd compared to the district commercial grazing average (Pg 399)3
    • Land is low grazing capacity and wet season limits production (pg 399)3
  • Major reason for success was the estalishment of domestic abattoir to provide meat to surrounding communities.(Pg 316)3
  • Palumpa Properties main support was the community of Port Keats.(Pg 316)3
  • Initial capital investment of abattoir operations was provided by the NT government(Pg 343)3


  • Until 1990 Palumpa had been able to access loan and grant funding from Aboriginal Development Corporation (ADC) and Aboriginal Torees Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) (pg 316)3


  • Palumpa property title at this time is Aboriginal freehold.3
    • Land area Size 1,150 sq km.(Pg 329)3
    • receiving ATSIC or other enterprise support at this time (pg 329)3
    • Operated under CDEP program (Pg 329)3
    • 3 community services were available (Pg 329)3
    • Had a non-local manager (Pg 329)3
    • Employed 4 people (Pg 329)3
  • Herd Size of Palumpa property 3,700 head (Pg 329)3
    • Carrying Capacity 10,000 head (Pg 329)3


  • Palumpa Pastoral property is of sufficent size to support the abattoir processes (Pg 316)3
  • Employ 5 people on the property and 7 in the butcher shop (Pg 316)3


  • Facility is cited in a report to be in operation at this time (Pg 14)2
  • Demand for MSA (Meat standards Australia) is not an issue for indigenous communities, therefore these small abattoirs don’t compete with product from southern Australia.(Pg 14)2


  • July. At this point in time there are two other abattoirs operated on communities that are Aboriginal owned5
  • September. Indigenous Land Corporation have acquired 221 properties across Australia since 19956
    • Manage 70,000 head of cattle on various Aboriginal held stations6


  1. Managing Indigenous Pastoral Land. Module 9. 14/025
  2. ‘A pre-feasibility study of supply and demand issues for multi-species abattoir in Northern Australia’ G Niethe. 2009.
  3. ‘Black pastoralism – Contemporary Aboriginal land use’ S Phillpot 2000
  4. NT Place Names register. Accessed 26.01.2015
  5. ‘Rare bush abattoir’ ABC Rural 07.07.2008
  6. ‘Cattlemen muster pride’ The Australian 22.09.2008

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