“ALPA has managed to maintain cultural diversity and sound business practices that provide economic foundations for Yolŋu’s well-being.”

Rev. Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra OAM is a Senior Yolŋu Elder, Ceremonial Lawman and Clan Leader of the Dhurili Nation of Northeast Arnhem Land. He lives on Galiwin’ku, Elcho Island in East Arnhem Land. For decades he has been an outspoken and influential advocate for Indigenous rights, as well as an experienced cross-cultural mediator, religious leader and business consultant.

Whilst being an advanced initiate in Yolŋu ceremonial law, the Rev. Dr. Gondarra has a long history of spiritual leadership within the Christian Church. In 1976, he became the first Aboriginal person to be ordained as a Minister of the Methodist Church of Australasia. Subsequent positions have included: Theological Lecturer at Nungalinya College in Darwin; the first Aboriginal Moderator of the Northern Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia; Director of the Aboriginal Ministry and Mission of the Northern Synod; Secretary of the Aboriginal Presbytery of the Northern Synod; Co-founder and Chairman of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islanders’ Christian Congress; and Member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches.

Following his retirement from the Uniting Church, Rev. Dr. Gondarra has maintained his passion for social justice, reconciliation and appropriate Aboriginal community development.

For many years, he was Executive officer of Aboriginal Resource Development Services (ARDS) and he has held positions on both the Steering Committee of the Australian Indigenous Cultural Network and the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation.

In 2004, Rev. Dr. Gondarra founded the Mawul Rom Project, a ground-breaking initiative that provided immersive cross-cultural training to non-indigenous mainstream professionals in Northeast Arnhem Land. The Masters-level course is aimed to nurture respectful dialogue, mediation and decision-making in cross-cultural environments. Past participants have included lawyers, police commissioners, and government officials. Mawul Rom was an accredited course available through Charles Darwin University (CDU), but unfortunately, it is no longer on offer.

Rev. Dr. Gondarra has had many years of experience in business development and consultancy. He has been Chairman of the Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation (ALPA) since 1993 and is a Board Member of Yirrkala Business Enterprises (YBE).

He also provides consultancy services through his own company, simply named Djiniyini Gondarra.

Rev. Dr. Gondarra holds an honorary Diploma of Theology from Nungalinya College, Darwin, and an honorary Cultural Doctorate in Literature from the World University, Roundtable, Arizona USA.