About Mantamaru

Mantamaru or Jameson is located at the base of the Jameson Range in the Central Ranges region. The community takes its English name from these ranges, which were named after an early European explorer. Mantamaru and Parnamaru (the original name of the community when it first became incorporated) translate in Ngaanyatjarra/ Pitjantjatjara language as black (maru) ground (manta or parna). This is an appropriate description of the ground cover of small black stones found around the Jameson Range. The other name which is sometimes used by Yarnangu is Wirrlkuralnya, which is the name of a spring in the Jameson Range. The residents are all Ngaanyatjarra speakers.

Many of the present day residents of Mantamaru were educated at Warburton Mission. A small number went to Ernabella Mission in South Australia. The close proximity of Mantamaru to Warburton allowed many to move back and forth between their traditional country and the mission with relative ease. During school holidays parents of the now middle-aged men and women living at Jameson would take their children out of the mission to travel with them on foot. These journeys would last several months and usually occurred in summer time when the waterholes had been replenished from summer rains.

Like Irrunytju, the community was established in the vicinity of a mining camp. In the early days of the outstation the residents would camp at Wirrlkuralnya, (a short distance from the existing community) because of the poor quality of water from the existing bore near the mining camp. Homelands funding was later provided for a store, a generator, a new bore and a vehicle to transport supplies from Warburton. The community became incorporated in 1976. Today, as at Irrunytju, miners are back looking for nickel, and have uncovered a large deposit of sulphide nickel approximately 30km south of the community.

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