Ikuntji / Haasts Bluff
Ikuntji is nestled within the spectacular West MacDonnell Ranges, to the north is Ulampawarru and Anyali (Mt Edward and Mt William), and to the south is the stunning Mereenie Bluff. Ikuntji has a population of 165 people.
Ikuntji is located 250km west of Alice Springs. It takes 3 hours drive to get there on both a sealed and unsealed road. By air it takes 5 minutes to drive to the closest airstrip and then 45 minutes from Alice Springs.
There are two access routes to Ikuntji. The first is via the Tanami Highway, of which the first 138 kilometres from Alice Springs is sealed road and the rest is good dirt road. There is a turnoff 18 kilometres before Ikuntji which heads south west to Ikuntji.
The alternative route is on the sealed road directly west of Alice Springs on Namatjira Drive to Glen Helen. There is another 110 kms of unsealed road which continues west to Ikuntji. This road may become impassable in heavy rain.
There is a day/night airstrip that is located 3 km south west from the Community and is in good condition.
MacDonnell Shire Council Services
Services provided to Ikuntji from the MacDonnell Shire Council include:
Works- roads, parks and cemetery maintenance, waste management.
Essential Services- servicing power, water and the airstrip.
Community & Agency Services- Centrelink, Night Patrol, Sport and Recreation, Aged Care and Child Care which includes school nutrition and vacation care.
The area in which the present settlement of Ikuntji is located was first seen by Europeans in 1872 when Ernest Giles travelled through the Luritja region. It was not until the turn of the century that pastoralists began to move this far west.
Displacement of other language groups from the traditional areas saw people of the Pintubi come from the desert further west, the Warlpiri from the Tanami Desert to the north, the Arrarnta from the centre and some of the Pitjantjara people from the south.
Finke River Mission established a ration depot near the current site of the Ikuntji community soon after the Haasta Bluff Aboriginal Reserve was proclaimed in 1941.
The people using the depot were mainly Kukatja people from close by and Pintubi people who moved in from further west either in response to its establishment or who had previously moved east to be closer to Hermannsburg. There were also some Pitjantjattjara, Aranda and Warlpiri people. The main employment then was the cattle operation which started at the community in 1944. By mid to late 1950s there were approximately 1,000 people living in or near Haasts Bluff. In 1954, control of the community at Haasta Bluff was handed over to the Northern Territory administration and later to the Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA). At this time, due to the large numbers of people who had moved into the area and problems with the quality and quantity of water at Haasts Bluff, it was decided to establish a new community nearby. Work began on Ikuntji community in 1956. In March 1957 people began to move across and in October1960 Ikuntji was officially opened. A significant percentage of the Haasts Bluff population was relocated. The community at ikuntji became self managing when the DAA transferred control to the community in 1979 and this also started the outstation movement which saw many of the people living in the area begin to move back to their traditional lands.
Major Language Group
Languages spoken in Ikuntji include: Luritja, Western Arrarnta, Pintubi and Warlpiri languages. Luritja is a western desert language closely related to Pintubi. Most people speak a number of other languages depending on their family background and personal experiences; most commonly these would be Pintubi, Warlpiri, Arranta and Anmatyerre. English is spoken to some degree by most people and there is a wide range of competencies in English.
Infrastructure and Community Life
The community has a store that stocks dry goods, frozen food, clothes, some white goods and general merchandise.
Fresh fruit, vegetables, milk and meat are available but limited.
The community also has a Primary School, Laundry, Church (Lutheran), Health Centre, Sporting facilities, basketball courts, BRACS, the Ikuntji Women and Art Centre and the Ikuntji Artists Aboriginal Corporation which is covered by Police presence at Papunya.
We welcome any historic or current information that you know about this community that would add to this community profile.