Guest Blogger

Melanie Herdman – Growing Up in Arnhem Land

Sports carnival at Oenpelli 2005. That's me, in the middle of  the back row.

As far as I remember I grew up with my family in North East Arnhem Land. I was born in Bendigo, Victoria but have lived most of my life here in Arnhem Land. When I was young I remember living with my mum and dad in my immediate family’s community of Galupa (near the refinery in Nhulunbuy). The population was about 50 people, mainly three generations from my grandfather.

I moved out of Galupa and lived in Gunyangara with my mother when my parents split up. I stayed between Gunyangara and Nhulunbuy where my dad lives.

I left and stayed with my aunty, uncle and six beautiful cousins at Yirrkala. I love living in the communities because all of my mum’s extended family are there. We look out for each other and everyone is family. I loved playing sports and going hunting with friends, family and community programs.

I went to school in Yirrkala till year 10 then finished 11 and 12 in Darwin. I moved back to Gunyangara after I finished school.

PS – this pic was taken 2005 or 2006 in Oenpelli when we went there for a sports carnival. That’s me, in the middle of the back row.

Melanie’s Blog 1 – Growing up in Arnhem Land

Melanie’s Blog 2 – ‘I promised myself I would never smoke!

Melanie’s Blog 3 – Smoking & Friends

Melanie’s Blog 4 – “I would not risk smoking for even a day of my life, because of my kids”

Melanie’s Blog 5 – Smoking & Family


Melanie Herdman is a 25 year old Aboriginal woman, who lives in Gunyangara, a remote community in NorthEast Arnhem Land, Northern Territory.  She is a non-smoker and wants to share her views on growing up as a non-smoker, and touch on the topic of passive smoking and children.

Every month No Smokes features an Indigenous Guest Blogger. Previous Guest Blogs can be viewed to the left. Are you interested in being our next Guest Blogger?