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20 Jan 2015 - 12:12 PM  UPDATED 29 Mar 2016 - 4:28 PM

Trent visits Nyinyikay in north-east Arnhem Land. Marcus Lacey and other local Aboriginal men take Trent into the bush to collect bark to use for shelters and paintings. Trent learns that Marcus and his family are determined to keep their culture alive.


"We’re sharing our culture the spirit of the land.
Every human hair has that spiritual element.
We use it but at some point humankind has lost that,
Technology is good and well but you lose the spiritual element to your lives."

Marcus Lacey Traditional Owner, Teacher & Tourist Business Operator, Nyinyikay, north-east Arnhem Land, NT

Meet Marcus Lacey

Marcus Lacey lives with his family on the homeland community of Nyinyikay, north-east Arnhem Land, NT. Twice runner-up in the NT Young Achiever Awards, and youngest person to be elected to the Galiwinku Community Council, Marcus is a widely respected young leader of Yolngu Customary and Ngärra Law and is a trained mediator through the four-year Mawul Rom program.

  • Nyinyikay is one of 25 homesteads situated in Arnhem Land in East Northern Territory.
  • It is four hours’ drive or 20 minutes’ flight from Nhulunbuy.
  • Arnhem Land is named after the Dutch East India Company ship that sailed into the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1623.
  • In 1931 Arnhem Land, which includes Kakadu National Park, was declared an Aboriginal Reserve.
  • North-east Arnhem Land is the traditional land of the Yolngu People.


A world away from Sydney, Law Enforcement Officer Trent, is starting to question his narrow view of Aboriginal people.

Trent: “Seeing you guys out here in the middle of nowhere living and surviving is pretty incredible. But I go home and work with and see Aboriginals that live completely differently. And … a lot of it is very negative. There’s a lot of drugs. There’s a lot of alcohol. Abuse. To see this side of things is pretty incredible.”

Marcus Lacey: “We’re just giving you an insight. Behind all those ugly faces that you might see in front of you, you take this back with you and then you might communicate differently with them. And, not see them as law breakers, just see them just as people who are just trying to survive in a different environment.”

Trent: “That’s what I’m here for. I want to take some of these lessons that I’m learning, exactly as Marcus is saying. How can I communicate better with Aboriginal people in my job as a Law Enforcement Officer?”


Resources and related content

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Learn more about the culture and history of the Yolngu People of north-east Arnhem Land.