History of Garnduwa

During the 1980s, there was much discussion about developing a peak Indigenous body to promote and develop sport and recreation throughout Indigenous communities within Australia. In 1991, meetings were held which led to the design of a name and logo and the establishment of a company Constitution. With the support of the Ministry of Sport and Recreation (now the Department of Sport and Recreation), and the formulation of six core strategies for the development of Indigenous sport and recreation, Garnduwa Amboorny Wirnan Aboriginal Corporation was born.

The name ‘Garnduwa Amboorny Wirnan’ was derived from the three language groups that, at the time, represented the ATSIC regions across the Kimberley: Kullari, Malarabah, and Wirnan. The name means ‘big mob of people getting together to do something’. The logo depicts a salt-water turtle (symbolising the salt water people of the coast) and a fresh water crocodile (symbolic of the fresh water people from inland). The red, black and yellow used on the logo represent the colours of the Aboriginal flag.

Garnduwa is currently the only recognised Indigenous sport and recreation organisation across Australia. It is responsible for the development and participation of Kimberley Indigenous people in physical activities at the local, regional, state and national levels. The corporation acts as a forum for Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley to discuss, plan and co-ordinate youth activities and to make decisions and recommendations to other organisations about youth, sport and recreation issues. It aims to provide opportunities for Indigenous Australians (in particular youth) through research, strategy development and program and service implementation, as well as improving the opportunities and participation of Aboriginal people in purposeful recreational and sporting activities.

Over the past two decades, Garnduwa has developed from a one-man operation based in Broome, to employing upwards of 25 staff and having offices in each of the major centres within the Kimberley. It prides itself on the services offered to remote communities under the ‘Smarter than Smoking’ logo, promoting healthier lifestyles through participation in meaningful sport and recreation activities.