Oak Valley
South Australia
Oak Valley is located in South Australia
Oak Valley
Oak Valley
Coordinates29°24′07″S 130°44′10″E / 29.401881°S 130.73623°E / -29.401881; 130.73623Coordinates: 29°24′07″S 130°44′10″E / 29.401881°S 130.73623°E / -29.401881; 130.73623[1]
LGA(s)Maralinga Tjarutja
RegionEyre Western[2]
State electorate(s)Giles[3]
Federal division(s)Grey[4]

Oak Valley is the only community of Maralinga Tjarutja Aboriginal Council (AC) Local Government Area (LGA), South Australia. The population fluctuates, but a 2016 survey reported around 128 people, mostly Aboriginal.[5] It is approximately 128 kilometres (80 mi) NNW of the original Maralinga township, and lies at the southern edge of the Great Victoria Desert.[5] It is named for the desert oaks that populate the vicinity of the community.

It was established in 1984 with funds provided as compensation for the dispossession of the Maralinga people from their lands following the British nuclear tests which took place between 1956 and 1963.[6] The risks associated with living in an area contaminated by plutonium, even after the cleanup have been a significant concern.[7]

In 2003 South Australian Premier Mike Rann and Education Minister Trish White opened a new school at Oak Valley, replacing what had been described as the "worst school in Australia".[8] In May 2004, following the passage of special legislation, Premier Rann handed back title to 21,000 square kilometres (8,100 sq mi) of land to the Maralinga Tjarutja and Pila Nguru people. The land, 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) northwest of Adelaide and abutting the Western Australia border, was called the Unnamed Conservation Park. It is now known as Mamungari Conservation Park, and includes the Serpentine Lakes. It was the largest land return since Premier John Bannon's handover of Maralinga lands in 1984. At the 2004 ceremony Premier Rann said the return of the land fulfilled a promise he made in 1991 when he was Aboriginal Affairs Minister, after he passed legislation to return lands including the sacred Ooldea area (which also included the site of Daisy Bates' mission camp) to the Maralinga Tjarutja people.[9]

Images from Oak Valley and the Maralinga lands were the focus of an exhibition at the 2002 Adelaide Festival.[10]

Neighbouring Aboriginal communities

Driving distances from Oak Valley to main centres are:

See also


  1. ^ "Search results for 'Oak Valley, LOCA' with the following datasets selected - 'Suburbs and localities', 'Electorates Federal 2016', 'Electorates State 2018', 'Local Government Areas', 'SA Government Regions' and 'Gazetteer'". Location SA Map Viewer. South Australian Government. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Eyre Western SA Government region" (PDF). Government of South Australia. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  3. ^ "District of Giles Background Profile". Electoral Commission of South Australia. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Federal electoral division of Grey" (PDF). Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Communities". EyrePlus. 19 June 2019. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  6. ^ McKay, Sandra (20 December 1997). "The dispossessed". The Age. p. 4. Archived from the original on 12 August 2017. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  7. ^ Christian, Jennie (21 June 1996). "Cleaning up our nuclear past". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 18.
  8. ^ "Maralinga students welcome new school". ABC News (Australia). 4 May 2003. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Maralinga hand-over prompts celebration". The Age. 25 August 2004. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  10. ^ Usher, Robin (20 February 2002). "From history's shadow". The Age. p. 3.

Further reading