In 2015 Cyclone Lam devastated the island community of Galiwin’ku, located in East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. Just one month later, with the island community still battling to recover, Cyclone Nathan, although less ferocious, added to the damage unleashed by Nature in such a short time.

With housing just being replaced and the visible and widespread effects of the cyclones still apparent in the natural landscape across the island, the community continues to rebuild. No one rules out similar events happening again and there is still much to share and to learn about what happened when the cyclones hit and how to manage and prepare if there were to be similarly ferocious natural events. A combined understanding of traditional knowledge and western science may help people to prepare and manage in the future.

Steph Vajda has been contracted by Australian Red Cross on Galiwin’ku to develop a series of films to understand the impacts of the cyclones that devastated the island in 2015 and to create resources that help Yolngu better prepare for future events of this nature. 

The project, titled Whanna Nee Galiwin’ku (Where Are You Galiwin’ku) happens from January to May 2016. Steph will be working with local organisations and community members to document stories and develop useful resources to support Galiwin’ku to face the reality of future cyclones and similar natural events. Elders discussion groups, walks with young people around town, bush hunting trips, model making and interviews in the streets will help piece together peoples experiences and together with relevant research, document ways to support the community to be better prepared.