South Australia
Amata 2013.jpg
Amata is located in South Australia
Coordinates26°09′S 131°08′E / 26.150°S 131.133°E / -26.150; 131.133Coordinates: 26°09′S 131°08′E / 26.150°S 131.133°E / -26.150; 131.133
Population455 (2016 census)[1]
Elevation690 m (2,264 ft)
Location1,407 km (874 mi) North West of Adelaide via
Australian National Route A1.svg
Australian National Route A87.svg
LGA(s)Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara
State electorate(s)Giles
Federal division(s)Grey

Amata, formerly known as Musgrave Park, is an Aboriginal community in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in South Australia, comprising one of the six main communities on "The Lands" (the others being Ernabella/Pukatja, Fregon/Kaltjiti, Indulkana, Mimili and Pipalyatjara).

Amata is part of the Amata – Tjurma electorate. The people of the Tjurma Homelands regard themselves as a separate community.

Geography and governance

Amata lies about 115 kilometres (71 mi) due south of Uluru and 380 kilometres (240 mi) south-west of Alice Springs, in the north-west of South Australia, within the Anangu Pitjantjatjara lands. It is located at the western end of the Musgrave Ranges, about 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) south of the border with the Northern Territory.[2]

Being 700 metres (2,300 ft) above sea level, Amata is also South Australia's highest town.[3]

It lies within one of seven electorates within the APY lands, representing the Amata and Tjurma wider communities, which elect the Executive Board of Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara.[4] Tjurma appears to be or have been a separate community.[5]


Based upon the climate records of the nearest weather station at Marla Police Station between 1985 and 2015, Amata experiences summer maximum temperatures of an average of 37.3 °C (99.1 °F) in January and a winter maximum average temperature of 19.6 °C (67.3 °F) in June. Overnight lows range from a mean minimum temperature of 22 °C (72 °F) in January to 5.5 °C (41.9 °F) in June.[6]

Annual mean rainfall is 234.4 millimetres (9.23 in).[6]


Against the trend for Aboriginal communities, the population of Amata grew for some years, from 180 residents in 1981, to more than 350 in the 1990s,[7] to 536 in 1996.[8]

Amata's population was 455 as of the 2016 Australian census. 83.6% identified as Aboriginal, and 96% of the population were born in Australia. 364 (81%) spoke Pitjantjatjara language at home, and 3 the Warlpiri language. 53.6% of the workforce were unemployed.[1]

The town of Amata services the Tjurma homelands and other nearby lands. The population of the "Amata - Tjurma Homelands" in the 2016 census was 429, all of whom were Aboriginal: 377 (89%) spoke Pitjantjatjara, and 3 Warlpiri. 62% of the workforce in the area were unemployed.[9]


Amata was established under the name of "Musgrave Park" in 1961 by the South Australian State Government. The community was established to take the pressure off the increasing growth of Pukatja (formerly Ernabella). The aim was to use it to educate the Aboriginal people in how to work in the cattle industry. A school was opened seven years later, in 1968.[7]

The settlement was funded by the federal government as an outstation (homeland) during the 1980s.[10]



The Centre Bush Bus service offers services between Amata, Kalka and Alice Springs several times a week.[11]

Amata Airport is one of three sealed airstrips in the APY Lands. The other sealed airstrips are located at Kaltjiti and Mimili.[12]


The Amata Anangu School was upgraded between 2003 and 2005 and there was a commitment in 2007 by State and Federal Governments to improve the associated swimming pool facility. The swimming pool was opened on 24 June 2007 by then South Australian Premier, Mike Rann.[citation needed] In 2018, the school offered Reception to Year 12, had a total enrolment of 92 students of which 84% were indigenous and a teaching staff of 15.[13][14]

Amata has limited Technical and Further Education (TAFE) support. Community lecturers offer training in: preparing for work; literacy and numeracy; work skills; learner driver education and licence support.[15]

Food and supplies

Obtaining fresh and healthy food has long been a problem for this and other remote communities. In early April 2020, the 1,000-square-metre (11,000 sq ft) Amata Aṉangu Store, opens next to the demolished old general store. With 600 square metres (6,500 sq ft) of storage space and 400 square metres (4,300 sq ft) of shopping area, it will stock "fresh fruit and vegetables, refrigerated frozen meat and other household goods... [from] TV sets to trampolines". The not-for-profit Mai Wiru Regional Stores Council Aboriginal Corporation was founded in 2000, to help establish food security on the APY Lands, with a major aim being to supply healthy food at cheaper prices in order to improve nutrition and community health. In 2015 Mai Wiru established their own transport system, and supply fresh food from Adelaide rather than Alice Springs, cutting costs by up to 25%.[16]


A permit from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara is required to access Amata, as the land is owned freehold by the corporation of resident Aboriginal people.[17]


The sale of local artwork plays a large role in the success of the Amata community. Tjala Arts, founded in 1999, exhibited the works of 7 Amata artists in Canberra in 2006.[18] In the 2007 State Budget, the South Australian Government announced $350,000 for a new arts centre in Amata.[19]

Tjala has nourished the careers of many artists who have gone on to be recognised for their work by prestigious art prizes, such as Tjungkara Ken. The Kulata Tjuta (many spears) project has spread across the APY lands as well as featuring in a large installation in the Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in Adelaide in 2017. Works by Tjala artists have been bought by private collectors and public institutions across the world, and are on display in the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of South Australia.[20]

Tjala Arts is one of ten Indigenous-owned and -governed enterprises that go to make up the APY Art Centre Collective.[21]


  1. ^ a b "2016 Census QuickStats: Amata". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Amata". Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  3. ^ "Elevations". Geoscience Australia. 1 January 2019. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  4. ^ Government of South Australia. Department of State Development, Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation. Heritage Information Team. "Map of Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (Apy) 7 Electorates Comprised by the Community Groups as Referred to in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands Rights (Miscellaneous) Amendment Act 2016" (map). Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  5. ^ Mindszenty, Katalin (2004). "Self determination and CDEP: Tjurma Homelands Council, South Australia". In Morphy, F.; Sanders, W.G. (eds.). The Indigenous Welfare Economy and the CDEP Scheme. CAEPR Monograph. ANU Press. JSTOR j.ctt2jbj2zz. Retrieved 12 March 2020. Tjurma is a small, remote homelands community in the Musgrave Ranges, 500 kilometres south-east of Alice Springs... The Tjurma people are the people who have come from the Anangu Pitjantjatara Lands, and they are the traditional owners. There has been talk of merging with Amata, starting with our art centre. The Tjurma people do not want to merge with Amata, which is a larger community with a lot of problems. They want to keep their homelands lifestyle.
  6. ^ a b "Climate statistics for Australian locations: Marla Police Station". Australian Government. Bureau of Meteorology. 3 October 2018. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  7. ^ a b Summers, John. "The Future of Indigenous Policy on Remote Communities" (PDF). School of Political and International Studies Flinders University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 September 2007. Retrieved 12 March 2020. Refereed paper presented to the Australasian Political Studies Association Conference University of Adelaide, 29 September—1 October 2004
  8. ^ Taylor, John (19 May 2004). Anangu population dynamics and future growth in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Open Research. ISBN 0-7315-2646-5. ISSN 1036-1774. Retrieved 12 March 2020. document
  9. ^ "2016 Census QuickStats: Amata - Tjurma Homelands". Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  10. ^ Parliament of Australia. House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs; Blanchard, Allen (March 1987). Inquiry into the Aboriginal homelands movement in Australia. Parliament of Australia. Published online 12 June 2011. ISBN 0-644-06201-0. Retrieved 16 August 2020. PDF
  11. ^ "Bus Timetables". Centre Bush Bus. 23 November 2017. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  12. ^ "Aerodromes". Regional Anangu Services Aboriginal Corporation. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  13. ^ "Search results for 'Amata Anangu School' with the following datasets selected - 'Suburbs and localities', Local Government Areas, SA Government Regions and 'Gazetteer'". Location SA Map Viewer. South Australian Government. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  14. ^ "Amata Anangu School, Amata, SA", My School, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), retrieved 10 August 2019
  15. ^ "Amata Learning Centre". TAFE SA. 11 November 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  16. ^ Skujins, Angela (10 March 2020). "Remote supermarket aims to improve health on the APY Lands". InDaily. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  17. ^ "Permits". Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  18. ^ "Review - Art of Amata women". The Canberra Times. 23 August 2006.
  19. ^ "'07 STATE BUDGET ABORIGINAL ARTS". The Advertiser. 8 June 2007. p. 83.
  20. ^ "Our Art Centre". Tjala Arts. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  21. ^ "APY Art Centre Collective". Tjala Arts. 24 November 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2020.