Watiyawanu / Mt Liebig
Watiyawanu, also known as Mount Liebig, lies on the western edge of the Greater MacDonnell Ranges, some 250 kilometres west of Alice Springs. Watiyawanu is a go-between community for families with connections to Haasts Bluff, Papunya, Kintore and Kiwirrkura.
The community is located 325 kms west of Alice Springs by road (approximately 3 and a-half hours driving time) at the western end of the MacDonnell Ranges on the Haasts Bluff Aboriginal Land Trust.
Mt Liebig, or Watiyawanu, is Luritja country. Mt Liebig originated in 1978 as an outstation of Papunya. The outstation remained relatively small until 1985 when it began to grow and be developed to the point where it is now a "community" in its own rights. It has a population of around 250 people. The majority of people living in Mt Liebig are former residents of Papunya or Haasts Bluff. Today, the majority of Mt. Liebig people identify themselves as Luritja. Other language groups include Pintubi, Warlpiri and Arrente.
MacDonnell Shire Council Services
Services provided to Mt Liebig from the MacDonnell Shire Council include:
Works- roads, airstrip, parks, cemetery maintenance,and waste management.
Essential services- servicing power and water.
Tenancy- management, Housing- repair and maintenance.
Community and Agency Services- Centrelink, Night Patrol, Children's Services and Youth Services.
In traditional times the people living in the vicinity of current day Mt Liebig were probably known as Luritja. Immediately to the north were Ngalia, Warlpiri, to the west Pintubi, to the northeast Anmatyerre, to the east Arrente and to the south and southwest Pitjantjatjara and Ngatajara.
Mt Liebig originated in 1978 as an outstation of Papunya. When the Hermannsburg mission was established in the 1870's, Indigenous people from all directions were attracted to Hermannsburg. Some people stayed while most merely visited and returned to their own country.
Mt Liebig has been a traditional gathering site for people in this area. An outstation was established there in 1978. The majority of people now living in Mt Liebig are former residents of Papunya or Haasts Bluff.
Today, the majority of Mt Liebig people identify themselves as Luritja. It is likely that this term comes from the Arranta word used to refer to all the people who traditionally lived to the immediate west of their country. There are a number of other peoples represented in Mt Liebig, Pintubi and Warlpiri mainly with some Arranta and a few Pitjantjatjara.
The people of Mt Liebig continue their traditional beliefs and cultural activities. Strong beliefs by the community including "sorry business" and the "pay back system"are still recognised.
Mt Liebig does not experience major seasonal movement of population between other communities. Its relationship with other communities is essentially on the basis of people visiting, rather than as seasonal movement. The community is also a centre for ceremonial functions. To this end, it frequently accommodates, on a short-term basis, people visiting from surrounding outstations and communities.
Major Language Group
Language spoken at Mt Liebig is Luritja. Other language groups include Pintubi, Warlpiri and Arrente.
Other facilities, infrastructure and community life
Mt Liebig has Aged Care Centre and a laundry attached, Health Centre, Work shop, Centrelink sub branch, Child Care Centre, School and Lutheran Chuch.
We welcome any historic or current information that you know about this community to add to this profile.