Ngurra Kutjuwarra - Together on Country - with Agency

by Bessie Marks February 25, 2022 4 min read

The newest product in our Good Coffee Doing Good range is an espresso blend named Golden Rule! Through sales of this coffee we’ll be raising funds for some really meaningful organisations and projects, donating $4 for each kilo sold across our retail and wholesale operations.  

Our first partnership is with Agency Projects - an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander not-for-profit organisation. Shop Golden Rule.

We are proud to partner with Agency Projects to raise funds to support their mission to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, culture and people and create inspiring networks of giving to support programs of cultural significance. They do this through the facilitation of bespoke learning opportunities, exhibitions, events, publications, residencies and cultural experiences for audiences in Australia and abroad.

One such program is the Ngurra Kutjuwarra - or Together on Country - project. Ngurra Kutjuwarra, in partnership with Warlayirti Artists in Balgo, provides opportunities for First Nations artists to travel back to their ancestral Country, which has a number of positive impacts for them, their families and the wider communities.

Keeping Culture Strong

Burning Country, Balgo. Image courtesy of Warlayirti Artists. Photographer Lucinda White.

Warlayirti Artists is an Arts and Cultural centre located in Balgo (Wirrimanu), Western Australia, in the south east Kimberley, on the edge of the Great Sandy and Tanami Deserts in the Kutjungka region of northern Western Australia. 

Founded in 1987, the cooperative brings together painters from the Aboriginal communities of Balgo, Mulan, Ringer Soak, Billiluna and Yakka Yakka and represents eight language groups: ​​Kukatja, Ngardi, Djaru, Warlpiri, Walmajarri, Wangkajunga, Pintupi and Ngaatjatjaras. Each of these groups has their own individual stories, Law and Tjukurrpa (dreaming). Warlayirti Artists is recognised as one of the Peak Aboriginal Community Controlled Arts organisations in Australia.

Most of the senior artists painting today grew up in the Missions, a long way from where their ancestral Country lies, deep in the Tanami and Great Sandy deserts. Ability to go back to Country is hindered for many by the remote and rugged terrain, cost and access to resources.


Connection to Country


Women Painting on Country. Image courtesy of Warlayirti Artists. Photographer Lucinda White.

Trips on Country are known to improve the social and cultural wellbeing of Artists and their families. They also offer unique opportunities for intergenerational transfer of cultural knowledge. Warlayirti Artists and Senior Elders have identified the issue of intergenerational transfer of deep secret/sacred knowledge not being passed on and potentially lost forever, due to the rapid loss of senior men and women in the community who were custodians of deep secret sacred knowledge.

Artists respond to trips on Country by creating a cohesive body of work which tells the story of the diversity and vast distances between each artists’ Country which they can share with their families. The act of painting helps them to revisit their Country and keep their culture strong. These artworks can subsequently be sold to support the artist and their family - the sole revenue stream for many outside of Government support.

Karrunpa Palya


(L) Helicopter Painting on Country. Image courtesy of Warlayirti Artists. Photographer Lucinda White. (R) Painting on Country. Image courtesy of Warlayirti Artists.

“Strong spirits and strong painting cannot grow without the knowledge and experience of being on Country.”

One of the phrases that was used most on a recent trip was “Karrunpa Palya” which means “spirit happy”. Pictured is Helicopter Joey Tjungurrayi - one of Warlayirti’s leading artists - painting on Country. Helicopter is a Maparn (traditional healer) and is an active Senior Lawman and Singer. He was brought up in a traditional nomadic lifestyle, learning from childhood the location of water sources, and how to hunt for bush food. As a child, he was taken to the Old Balgo Mission for medical attention in a helicopter that had been doing some mining exploration work in the area - hence his very memorable name.

Warlayirti arts worker and artist Samuel Tjapanangka Galova reflected on this trip and the impact it had on esteemed community Elders like Helicopter, and the younger generations of artists such as himself:

“I’m very happy. I’m happy for my families and my Country. To see my family in those places, to see how it makes them happy and strong. Makes my heart feel good. Especially old man Helicopter and old lady Kumpaya, to see them tell their stories and hear what they know about all the places we go. It’s what makes them strong and keeps them alive.” 


Agency’s Commitment

Agency has been successful in helping Warlayirti Artists strengthen their connection with their Country and homelands through more frequent trips and opportunities that connect Elders and younger generations to their land, and ensure the intergenerational transfer of sacred knowledge for a stronger future.

Agency is committed to continuing their work with Warlayirti Artists to support more frequent trips on to Country, and to achieve their long-term goal of having a permanent Purple House Dialysis centre in Balgo. This goal is a priority for the community given the high number of people requiring dialysis who currently need to leave home to receive treatment.


How you can contribute

You can contribute by purchasing our new Golden Rule blend. $4 from each kilo sold will be donated directly to Agency to support them to deliver this powerful initiative and others like it.

You can also donate directly to Agency via their website, which we have listed below.

Supporting Agency supports Indigenous-led programs like NGURRA KUTJUWARRA, and directly enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander capacity and empowerment, and increases opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, cultural leaders and creative practitioners to tell their own stories in their own voices.

Your contribution will directly support Indigenous-led initiatives that:

  • Amplify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices and knowledge on a local and global scale through public talks, exhibitions and workshops,
  • Promote intergenerational learning through cultural maintenance, publications and documentation,
  • Support Digital Literacy and skills development across digital mapping, archiving and social media, and
  • Create strong economic and capacity building opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and communities. 

Golden Rule will be raising funds for Agency over the next few months, with an objective of raising $5000. 

We would like to thank Agency for their assistance in writing this article and for sharing these images with us, courtesy of Agency Projects, Warlaryiti Artists and photographer Lucinda White.

Learn more about Agency or donate to them via their website agencyprojects.org.

Shop Golden Rule Espresso Blend!



Also in Good Coffee Doing Good

Introducing Golden Rule
Introducing Golden Rule

by Bessie Marks February 25, 2022 2 min read

Introducing Golden Rule, the newest member of our blend family and the first blend to bear the Good Coffee Doing Good mark! Through sales of this coffee we’ll be raising funds for some really meaningful organisations and projects, donating $4 for each kilo sold across our retail and wholesale operations.
Read More
Results! Good Coffee Doing Good in Rwanda
Results! Good Coffee Doing Good in Rwanda

by Bessie Marks September 28, 2021 2 min read

We’re proud to announce our latest Good Coffee Doing Good campaign raised $2820 for the Gitesi Project, an initiative benefitting coffee farmers in Rwanda!
Read More
Good Coffee Doing Good x The Gitesi Project
Good Coffee Doing Good x The Gitesi Project

by Bessie Marks June 11, 2021 6 min read

The third edition of Good Coffee Doing Good has launched! Working in collaboration with Bureaux Coffee, we are raising funds for The Gitesi Project through a very special Rwandan coffee.
Read More

Be the First

Padre Coffee acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their continued connections to land, sea and community.
We pay our respect to Elders past, present and future, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.