Charlie's Country

Charlie's Country “Outstation" or "Homeland" Communities in Australia

The majority of Charlie's Country is set in a remote Indigenous community on Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia. Such communities are known interchangeably as outstations or homelands, depending on local context and preference.

The outstation movement in the Northern Territory is generally considered to have begun in the 1970s with Yolngu-speaking people voluntarily relocating from cities and towns to remote settlements such as Yilpara, an outstation community on a peninsula in Blue Mud Bay. The area was chosen for its proximity to fresh water, abundant fishing, and ancestral significance.

Some saw the outstation movement of the 1970s and 1980s as an opportunity for Aboriginal Australians to move away from the social problems associated with the government's legacy of ongoing colonial oppression and forced assimilation policies. With Indigenous people establishing their own communities, the outstation movement is seen as an experiment in Aboriginal Australian self-determination—the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to pursue their own cultural, economic, and social interests.

Political support for outstation communities has shifted and proven controversial over the years, with governments removing funding, leading to worsening provision of services. There has also been research that indicates improved cultural, social, and health benefits associated with life in the settlements in spite of governmental neglect.

At present, remote Indigenous communities continue to exist in Australia. The majority of homelands settlements are in the Northern Territory, with approximately ten thousand people living in over five hundred communities. "The Homelands Program" in the region delivers essential and municipal services to the communities.