In the decades prior to 1970, the Yolngu people in the East Arnhem region were congregated in various missions, the most easterly of which was Yirrkala on the Gove Peninsula.
In April 1972, senior Yolngu leaders and their extended families began moving away from the Yirrkala mission and the expanding mining town, back to their traditional clan land around Arnhem Land.
The homelands movement was a Yolngu initiative, instigated before any government support for such movements. Yolngu cleared land for airstrips and built their own houses using timber from their land, with the help of Ngapaki (non-Indigenous people) from the Mission.
The clan elders aspired to determine their own future, conduct their affair according to Yolngu law and live and raise their children on their traditional land. Their vision was to develop sustainable, self-sufficient homelands for themselves, their families, and future generations. That vision is still strong and relevant today.
In 1985, Laynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation (LHAC or ‘Laynha’) was established to assist in supporting these communities.