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Cosmo Newberry is located on the edge of the Great Victoria Desert, on the Outback Highway (Australia’s longest shortcut). The name Cosmo Newberry is said to have originated from a Sir Cosmo Newberry, an industrial chemist that became one of the world’s foremost authorities in gold amalgamation in the late 1800’s. Today Cosmo Newberry is more commonly referred to simply as Cosmo or YILKA (a neighbouring soak).
Cosmo Newberry has a rich and varied history. It first became a settled community in 1920 when it was leased by two returned soldiers – the grandfathers of current community residents. It later became a Government Ration depot and in 1953, governance was passed into the hands of the United Aboriginal Mission. The mission governed the community for 23 years and ran a successful cattle station with the Wongatha people.
In 1976 the responsibility for the community was handed over to the Aboriginal people living in Cosmo Newberry. It was renamed Wangkatja Tjiwataarnmartatji, and incorporated under the Association Incorporation Act 1895-1969 on 1st April 1976. The residents (with the assistance of a non-Indigenous advisor) governed the community for approximately 11 years. Many residents left during that time, until finally the community was abandoned.
On 3rd December 1989, four families returned to the community, determined to revive it. Other families soon followed. Nowadays, the community is a positive example of what can be done if everyone in the community is willing to contribute to make their home communities better for all inhabitants. In 1994 the community made the decision to become affiliated with Ngaanyatjarra Council. The residents of Cosmo Newberry are committed to continuing to improve their community so that the young people can lead healthy and happy lives on their traditional lands without sacrificing on quality of life.