Groote Eylandt

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Groote Eylandt is the largest island in the Gulf of Carpentaria in northeastern Australia. It is the homeland of, and is owned by, the Anindilyakwa people (who still speak the isolated Anindilyakwa language).

Groote Eylandt lies approximately 50 km from the Northern Territory mainland and eastern coast of Arnhem Land (approximately 630 km from Darwin). The island measures approximately 50 km from east to west and 60 km north—south, a total area of 2,326.1 km². It is generally quite low-lying, with an average height above sea level of 15 m, although Central Hill reaches an elevation of 219 meters. Its geographic coordinates are 14°00′S 136°32′E / 14.0°S 136.53°E / -14.0; 136.53. It was named by the explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 and is Dutch for "Large Island" in a now-archaic spelling (nowadays it would be spelled Groot Eiland).



Together with Bickerton Island and a few smaller satellite islands, Groote Eylandt forms Anindiyakwa Ward of East Arnhem Shire. It contains the communities of Angurugu, Umbakumba, Yadagba District, Uburamudja District and Sandy Hill (Groote Eylandt) and Milyakburra District (Bickerton Island).[1]

Outside the local government subdivision is the mining company GEMCO town of Alyangula, which is unincorporated territory within the Northern Region of Northern Territory.


Groote Eylandt is part of the Arnhem Land Aboriginal Reserve. GEMCO, a BHP Billiton subsidiary, operates a large manganese mine near the community of Angurugu. In operation since the early 1960s, the mine produces more than 3.8 million tonnes annually - about a quarter of the world's total.

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