From the magnificent painted Church in Santa Teresa (near Alice Springs) to the awe inspiring Aboriginal painted Stained glass windows of the Darwin Cathedral, the Territory is rich with the combination of Catholic faith and Aboriginal Culture. In between those landmarks there are a number of small communities that have held a relationship with the Catholic Church for many years.


60% of all Catholics in the Territory are Indigenous, but it is also a very multicultural place as well. A visit to the home of the Aboriginal Ministry in Darwin - St Martin de Porres Parish - is witness to this. Every Sunday the community made up of people from every continent on Earth come together in a display of faith to form a rich tapestry of cultural differences and similarities.


Aboriginal culture and Catholic faith walk hand in hand in the Northern Territory.

Deacon Boniface turns 80!

Boniface Nyipul born 14 May 1936 son of Perdjert and Pilimbi at Werntek Nganaiyi (Old Mission), and just short of a year after the First Mass had been celebrated at Old Mission by Fr Richard Docherty on June 23rd 1935.


His mother Agatha Pilimbi last year celebrated her 100th birthday and still resides in the Aged Care Centre at Wadeye.


He is senior elder of the Kardu Diminin clan and Murrinhpatha language speaker and the traditional owner of the land on which the town of Wadeye (Port Keats) is built.


He married Bridget Naarpur a Murrinh Tjevin speaker in 1958.


They had three daughters Florence Minggi, Margaret Rose Nguluyguy, and Mary Concepta Demngurrtak and he is now grandfather to 11 grandchildren and has several great grandchildren.


Bridget his wife died 21 Aug 2002.


He was ordained the first permanent deacon in Australia at Port Keats on July 19th 1974 by Bishop John O'Loughlin, the Bishop of Darwin.


In August 1977 Deacon Boniface and Fr Patrick Dodson msc the first Aboriginal priest who had been ordained in 1975 and who in 1978 was to become Parish Priest of Port Keats were both asked to address the Australian Bishops Conference as it considered renewed pastoral efforts to Aborigines.


Deacon Boniface Perdjert 's statement can be found in A Spirituality of Catholic Aborigines and the Struggle for Justice. Though the statement was made almost 40 years ago, parts of it are still quoted and used by those reflecting on what it means to be both Aboriginal and Catholic


He participated in the early NATSICC Assemblies


In  November 1986, Boniface assisted at the Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II in Alice Springs when he delivered the famous address to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. He again assisted Pope John Paul at the beatification Mass for Mary Mackillop in Sydney in January 1995.


Deacon Boniface travelled to Rome for the Mass of Canonization of St Mary of the Cross Mackillop in 2010. He assisted Cardinal George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney as deacon during the Mass of thanksgiving at St Paul's Outside the Walls.


On the eve of his 80th birthday Boniface has mostly retired from active ministry. However in spite of sometimes poor health he managed to be present for the funeral Mass of Bishop Ted Collins at St Mary's Star of the Sea Cathedral in Darwin in August 2014 and where much to the delight of all present proclaimed the gospel during the funeral Mass.

He continues to be much loved and remains a source of inspiration for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people throughout the Diocese of Darwin and beyond. Happy Birthday Deacon!


Northern Territory Aboriginal Resources and links

Diocese of Darwin

GPO Box 476, Darwin, 0801

2 St John Court, The Gardens, 0820

Phone: (08) 8942 6000

Fax: (08) 8942 6060

Email: admin@darwin.catholic.org.au


Wadeye Catholic Parish

Postal Address:  PO Box 12, Wadeye, NT 0822.

Ph: (08) 8978 2368

Fax (08) 8978 2103

Email: olshwad@bigpond.com.au

Fe Leo Wearden

Deacon Boniface Perdjert

Mass times       

Tuesday:  6.00 pm

Wednesday-Friday:  7.00am

Saturday:  9.00am

Sunday:  Nganmarriyanga 9.30 am   |   Wadeye 6.00 pm


Bathurst Island

Parish Priest: Fr Patrick Mara MSC

Deacon: Rev Mr John Bosco Tipiloura

Postal Address: PO Box 22, Wurrumiyanga NT 0822

Ph/Fax:                     (08) 8979 3957


Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday:     7.00a.m.                                                                                                                       Thursday:               5.00pm                                                                                                                                  Saturday:                9.00a.m.  (Aged Care)                                                                                            Sunday:                  6.00p.m.

Melville Island

Postal Address: Our Lady of Victories Catholic Presbytery, Pirlangimpi, Melville Island, NT 0822

Ph:  (08) 8978 3867

Email: victories_gpn@yahoo.ca

Mass Times – Our Lady of Victories, Pirlangimpi:

Saturday (fortnightly):   8.00a.m.

Sunday (fortnightly):      9.00a.m.

Mass times – St. Monica’s Church – Milikapiti:

Friday:  5.00pm

Saturday:  8.00am

Sunday (fortnightly):   9.00am



St Martin de Porres

St Martin de Porres Catholic Aboriginal Community

11 Strele Crescent, Wanguri, NT  (Enter Church car park shared with Holy Spirit Parish)

Postal Address: PO Box 40629. Casuarina, NT 0811.

Ph: (08) 8927 8913

Email: stmartinsdarwin@gmail.com


Ngkarte Mikwekehe Aboriginal Community

Chaplain: Fr. Asaeli Raass

Tel: (08) 8953 4004

Email: olsh_parish_asp@bigpond.com

Address: 40 South Terrace Alice Springs, NT 0871

PO Box 9 Alice Springs  NT 0871


Sunday:    11:0a.m. 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th Sunday of the month.  On the 2nd Sunday there is an 11:00a.m. Mass at Amoonguna Community, Southeast of Alice Springs, off the Ross Highway.


Daly River Aboriginal Community

Fr. Peter Huan Nguyen MSC – Parish Priest

Postal Address:  PMB 28, Nauiyu, NT 0822

Ph:  (08) 8978 2449

Email:  fxnauiyu@bigpond.com

Mass Times:

Monday:     5.30pm

Wednesday to Friday:    7.00am

Saturday:    9.30am (No Mass on the 3rd Saturday of the month)

Sunday:   7.00pm

Mass Times:

11.00am every 2nd and last Sunday of the month.


Santa Teresa

Parish Priest     Fr Bosco Son SVD - boscosvd@hotmail.com

Parish Assistant   Sr. Elizabeth Weimers SGS


Street Address:        St. Therese's Presbytery, Santa Teresa

                                via Alice Springs NT 0871

Postal Address:       c/- PO Box 9

                                Alice Springs

                                NT 0871

Ph: (Church Office)     (08) 8956 0922

Fax: (Church Office)   (08) 8956 0967



Monday - Thursday:    5.30p.m. (Summer)  5.00pm (Winter)                                                                                   Friday:                          7.00a.m. (Summer and Winter)

Saturday:                     9.00a.m. / 10.00am (Winter)

Sunday:                       9.00a.m. (Summer) / 10.00a.m.  (Winter)




National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council

'The peak Indigenous advisory body to the Catholic Church'

80C Payneham Rd.

Stepney SA 5069

www.natsicc.org.au   |   craig@natsicc.org.au   | 08 8363 2963


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