Nestled at the top of the Northern Territory, in north-eastern Arnhem Land is Gapuwiyak. This remote community is roughly 872 kilometres from Darwin, and interestingly, Gapuwiyak is 219 kilometres closer to Papua New Guinea than it is to Brisbane, Queensland (where Orange Sky HQ is located). In the Yolgnu Matha language spoken by the community, ‘Gapu’ means water, and ‘Wiyak’ means salty or brackish, reflecting the community’s deep connection to the surrounding environment.

The road for Orange Sky to join the Gapuwiyak community was as smooth as they come. Odd, considering this was Orange Sky’s (often unlucky) number 13 Remote Service Rollout! The Remote Vehicle was entrusted to Orange Sky Service Leader (Northern Rivers), Dave Paulsen and his wife Joanne, to travel 3,509km from Brisbane to Darwin.

From there, myself (pictured, left) and Aimee Tyson (Orange Sky Remote Coordinator, pictured right) made our way along the Central Arnhem Highway from Darwin to Gapuwiyak. We had planned to make this leg of the trip by barge with the vehicle but were unable to (maybe this was that 13th roll-out luck kicking in?). We were welcomed into the community with people clapping and cheering as we drove in.

As with all of our services in remote communities, our shifts are run by local people employed by a local community controlled organisation. This fulfils Orange Sky’s Reconciliation Action Plan commitment to facilitate and promote self-determination. Access to clean laundry facilities is an essential service to promote wellbeing in remote locations of Australia.

We are so grateful to be welcomed into the Gapuwiyak community, to wash, yarn and connect together with ALPA and Gapuwiyak residents.

Find out more about Orange Sky’s ‘innovate’ RAP

Orange Sky's RAP