Traditional Owners develop digital storybook to assist with land management


In the remote Tanami Desert, near the border of the Northern Territory and Western Australia, Traditional Owners have overcome the digital divide to create a world first app in their traditional language, to assist with the land management of the Southern Tanami Indigenous Protected Area (IPA).

The interactive digital storybook replaces the wordy and complex IPA management plan with short videos, audio and animation in Warlpiri language, allowing users to move through the plan by following voice navigation prompts and icons.

Central Land Council (CLC) Director David Ross said the app is the result of more than two years of research and community involvement.

“We searched the globe for something Traditional Owners could understand and own but we could not find anything remotely like it, so they came up with their own digital plan that’s exciting, entertaining and a world first.”

Who said innovation and agility are only for cities?” Mr Ross said.

Members of the community were involved in every step of the development of the app from filming, directing, editing, translating, designing and scripting the storybook, resulting in a community led and owned product.

The storybook will be launched in the remote communities of Yuendumu, Nyirrpi and Willowra from 28 November and can be accessed through a desktop application in community learning centres, home computers, as well as through USB sticks for TVs and game consoles.

Traditional owners are already thinking of how their concept can be adapted by other Indigenous peoples across the globe. With Indigenous land managers everywhere welcome to adapt a free digital storybook template to their needs.

“I hope the storybook will become a valuable tool for empowering indigenous people everywhere, no matter how remotely they live.” Mr Ross said.


The Culture and Country category celebrates the use of technology to capture stories and share culture. Examples include individuals and community organisations that have used AR and VR to map sacred sites, bush medicine and manage the environment,  an organisation that has developed a language application or a corporation that has utilised an Indigenous supplier.