Alyangula Township Masterplan

Urban Design & Masterplanning
BHP Gemco

The Alyangula masterplan was commissioned during the recent Australian mining boom, at a time when the failure to attract and retain skilled and qualified workers was a major risk for remote mining operations. The brief was simple – help us make our town a sought after, attractive destination of choice for people to live in and work.


Built in the late 1960’s to house the manganese mine workers and their families, Alyangula is a (very) remote mining town located on the north western tip of Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

By 2010 the existing town fabric was languishing under pressure of unplanned, ad hoc redevelopment, the destabilisation of the permanent community via the introduction of transient FIFO workers, and the general change in lifestyle expectations amongst the contemporary mine worker and their families.

In response the masterplan makes a number of strategic interjections – including removing ad hoc development and re-making the town centre around a flexible housing typology, re-focussing activity around the towns’ unique waterfront asset and creating a new commercial strip and “community spine” to link the old and the new together.

A purpose built FIFO village is proposed in a location where the FIFO workers can choose to participate in the life of the town, and in a way that seeks to remove existing conflicts and tensions.

The masterplan identified the qualities of the existing built form and natural environment that make Alyangula a special place, and provided a set of simple and graphical guidelines to assist future custodians in making decisions that will only serve to strengthen these qualities.

The masterplan focuses on a fabric of public realm improvements that re-stitch the residential precincts and reconnect the life of the township to Alyangula’s most unique asset – its spectacular tropical waterfront setting.