Living in Remote Aboriginal Communities

Download the RAHC Cultural Orientation Handbook below for further information on living in remote Aboriginal communities and a basic guide to Indigenous culture.

Thinking of going remote? Read Remote Ready here to get a better understanding of what to expect.

Life in remote communities can be many things: challenging, rewarding, exciting, boring, frustrating, fulfilling, stressful, happy and more. A lot depends on how prepared you are to live in a remote community that doesn't have the entertainments or facilities that many of us are use to. You must be prepared to be resourceful in terms of filling your leisure time, and be aware of the different, often harsh environmental conditions that can occur in the bush.

RAHC is here to support you and we will advise you about the different facililties in the community you could be working in, and any items or goods you need to take with you.


Communities and Homelands/Outstations

Remote Aboriginal communities vary in size from relatively small with populations under 100 people to larger communities with over 1000 people. The number of non-Aboriginal people per community is usually related to the overall size of the community. Most non-Aboriginal people are there because they are employed in some community function such as in the school, in the clinic or they are partners and family members of those employed.

The location of a community could have been determined in the past by a number of reasons, for example being near a cattle or sheep station, originally established as a mission, or it was just a convenient location for the non-Aboriginal bosses or managers.

Some parts of the land around and within the communities are restricted and there will be 'women's' and 'men's' areas. Visitors to Aboriginal communties should always ask advice about where they can and cannot walk or drive.


Facilities Available in Remote Communites

Most communities have a store, office, health clinic, school, and fuel supply depot, depending on the size and location of the community. Access to banking facilities (ATM), television, landline telephones, radio and postage is available in most communities as well. Some communities have alcohol restrictions so that no alcohol is to be brought into the area. These are often referred to as 'dry' communities.


Stores and Supplies

Most community stores can supply your basic needs. However supplies can be affected by seasonal factors such as heavy rains wiping out roads.



Generally the community health service will provide accomodation for their health professionals. This can vary from a large house to a demountable building, or in some cases shared accomodation. Usually basic household items such as furniture, appliances, crockery, cutlery and cooking items are provided. 

Parts of this information was sourced from the publication:

Dentistry in Remote Aboriginal Communities
Nganampa Health Council
Copyright 2001