Limmen Bight, NT

My name is Emmalena (Emma) Barrett. My bush name is Whunijigah. My skin name is Ayakamarri (girl). My clan groups are Marra, Yanyuwa and Garrawa.

When I was a baby, family at Ngukurr saw my hair. It was white blond. My Mum asked what bush name for me? An old man named Ginger Riley, an artist who had lived up the road from us near Maria Lagoon named Namultja Outstation, reminded us of an old lady that my Mum called Nanna through her uncle, culture way, who had white hair and lived with her 3 other sister at Wuyagiba Outstation south of Numbulwarr. They gave me her name, Whumijigan.

Research is important to me because I get to meet people who are passionate about what they are researching and work with them. I have worked with rangers and reseachers from CDU and JCU on seagrass research projects. We were looking at how to measure and manage our seagrass. I have also carried out my own research talking with senior people and hearing their stories about seagrass and country.

Working as a Sea Ranger I get to go to places on country I have never been to. I do training to gain skills and knowledge, and go to Ranger Forums to meet and network with other ranger groups. As we work on country, we get to camp out doing work on the islands. We also hold women’s camps run by us women rangers. We take put all the women and kids who otherwise can’t make it onto country. We work with the clinic to give health workshops at these camps, before we go fishing and hunting, then cook bush tucker and have yarning and catch up around the fire.

I was a part of the Strong Women for Healthy Country Forum in 2023. I have now become a message stick, a member of the working group that has meetings to plan for the next forum.

I am part of a new upcoming organisation called Namultja where our goal is to get Marra families back on country and start a ranger unit and visitors/arts centre. We hosted a big gathering in 2022 where all the families and collaborators were invited.


  • I have completed primary and high school (to year 12)
  • I have completed 4 units of the Diploma of Indigenous Research at Charles Darwin University

Current employment:

  • 2023 – present: I’m currently working as a Sea Ranger with the Li-Anthawirriyarra Sea Ranger Unit. I am the first woman to be appointed to this role for Limmen River.

Past resarch projects:

  • 2021 – 2023 Limmen Seagrass Research Project with CDU

Resarch presentations: 

My availability:

I am available for community engagement and research activities. I mostly live in Limmen Bight, but also travel to Borroloola for ranger work.

If you are interested in working with me, please contact me by email:

Media stories: 


Images: Emmalena interviewing family members as part of her research work and studies at CDU