Wadeye (also known as Port Keats) is a remote aboriginal community
situated 420km south-west of Darwin. Wadeye is the 6th most populated
town in the Northern Territory and the largest Indigenous
The Kardu Diminin people are the Traditional Owners (TO's) of
the land on which the Wadeye township is situated. Wadeye was founded
as a Roman Catholic mission in 1935, which was originally located at
Werntek Nganayi (old Mission) from 1935. The town was relocated to its
current location in 1938 due to the lack of water and space for an
airstrip. Murin Travel and Freight provide a freight service on the
passenger planes. ShoreBarge provide a fortnightly barge service.
Wadeye is only accessible by road during the dry season and is
the central ‘hub’ for many outstations around the area.
Once you leave Wadeye township you are on Aboriginal Land and need
permission from the Traditional Owners of the land you intend on
visiting / passing through next. The traditional owners of Wadeye are
the Kardu Diminin mob and there are twenty different clan estates
within the area. There are five languages and four different dialects
spoken in Wadeye, with Murrinhpatha one of the most common.
The clans of Wadeye region have banded together to form Thamarrurr
(ward). Wadeye was the initial site of where the intervention began.
Generally, the community is fairly well serviced compared to most of
the other remote communities. Wadeye is very gender segmented and
an individual needs to be aware of this when working or visiting the
community. Community members in Wadeye are passionate about football
and sports in general.