WYDAC CLC Joint Media Release: Community Corrects Misreporting of Yuendumu Death Aftermath

Posted: Mon, February 02, 2015

Yuendumu residents have rallied around their youth service following the death of much loved pool manager Jupurrula Berry.

Eddie Robertson, the chair of the Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation which employed Mr Berry, said reports attributed to police of people “fleeing” the community in fear of a new “wave of violence” are false.

“Quite the opposite is happening”, the NT Senior Australian of the Year said. “The whole community is gathering around to mourn this wonderful man who knew every child by name.”

“All families and agencies are showing their respect in their own ways. The children and young people are very sad and have placed flowers, cards and letters at the swimming pool.”

WYDAC manager Susie Low said: “Obviously everyone is grieving but we are all supporting each other and to claim that there is a climate of fear is just irresponsible nonsense.”

Ms Low said Mr Berry was the first non-Aboriginal person the Yuendumu football team has honoured with a moving ceremony of appreciation known locally as a “memory game”.

She said the two youths who were today charged with his murder are not from Yuendumu. One of them has only been in the community since December 2014.

Contrary to media reports only one of them was employed by WYDAC. He has been a pool attendant since 2013 while living with and being cared for by Mr Berry.

CLC and PAW Media chair Francis Kelly, who lives in Yuendumu but has been in hospital for the past two weeks, sent his condolences to Mr Berry’s family and the WYDAC team.

“Jupurrula had a good heart and was good with Yapa people. He listened and understood our culture. He was learning from us, as well as teaching us and our children,” he said.

“I feel proud of my community for looking after each other during this sad and stressful time. We are all family and work any problems out together.”

The CLC’s community development program has worked with the community and WYDAC to build and run the pool Mr Berry managed.

2 February 2015

Media Contact:        WYDAC:  Susie Low 0429 997 719       Central Land Council:  Elke Wiesmann 0417 877 579