Elaine Maypilama

AssocDipTeach, HonDLitt

Honorary Research Fellow

Areas of Expertise and Research Interests

Lawurrpa prefers to use part of her name for research purposes: Ms Elaine Lawurrpa Maypilama.

She currently lives in Galiwin'ku, Elcho Island, and has connection to the land through her father's father.

She also has a strong connections to Yirrkala lands through her Mother's side.

Lawurrpa has a strong track record of involvement in participatory and action research projects funded by the Commonwealth around Indigenous health, education and community development.

Since her involvement with the Gradaute School for Health Practice, and now Research Centre for Health and Wellbeing, Lawurrpa has been involved in the ARC-funded 'Indigenous birth and family' project, FACSIA funded 'Footprints in Time' project, and Department of Health and Ageing funded 'Taking Control of Chronic Disease' project.

She is currently coordinating research at Elcho Island for an NHMRC funded research project led by Menzies School of Health Research.

Lawurrpa was foundational in establishing the Yalu Marnggithinyaraw Centre at Galiwin'ku, a centre using traditional Yolgnu clan structures of governance and management to promote physical, spiritual and emotional health of Yolgnu people.

Current Projects

  • 2012- Food Across Cultures:  Integrating traditional Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing to build strong nutrition, health and spirit.Susan Colles (Principal Investigator), Julie Brimblecombe, Elaine Lawurrpa Maypilama.
  • 2012-13  Evaluation of the 'Sharing the full and true stories about chronic disease project” Anne Lowell; Elaine Maypilama, Joanne Garŋgulkpuy; Rosemary Gundjarranbuy - Yalu Marŋgithinyaraw in partnership with the Research Centre for Health and Wellbeing, School of Health, CDU.
  • 2012-14 Growing up children in two worlds – recognizing and building on strengths in two Aboriginal communities.Anne Lowell, Elaine Maypilama, Jane Garrutju, Mary Finlayson. CDU Research project.
  • 2011-12   Strengthening Indigenous research and project capacity.
  • 2010-12 ‘Endangered Sign Languages in Village Communities: Yolŋu sign language’ Dany Adone, Elaine Maypilama. Funded by European Science Foundation ‘EuroBABEL’. University of Cologne. 
    Anne Lowell; Elaine Maypilama; Joanne Garŋgulkpuy - Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs' CDEP Extension Program and is being conducted by the Yalu Marŋgithinyaraw in partnership with the Research Centre for Health and Wellbeing, CDU.
  • 2009-13 The Good Food Systems: Good For All project (Building Capacity)
    Julie Brimblecombe, Elaine Maypilama –Menzies School of Health Research.

Professional Memberships and Awards

  • Foundational Member: Yalu Marnggithinyaraw Centre at Galiwin'ku


Refereed Journal Articles

Lowell, A, Maypilama, L, Yikaniwuy, S, Rrapa, E, Williams, R & Dunn, S (2012). "Hiding the story'': Indigenous consumer concerns about communication related to chronic disease in one remote region of the NT’, International Journal of Speech Language Pathology.  Vol.14(3) pp.200-208.

Dunbar, T., Maypilama, E., and Gungkulpuy, J., (In press) Case Study: Engaging with Aboriginal people and communities.

Adone, D., Bauer, A., Cumberbatch, K & Maypilama, E., (In press) “Colour Signs in Two Indigenous Sign Languages.” In Sign Language Typology Series: Volume 4 – Village Sign Languages, edited by U.Zeshan & C. de Vos. Preston; Berlin: Ishara Press; Mouton de Gruyter: 2012.

Maypilama, E., & D. Adone. (In Press), “Sociolinguistic Sketch of Yolngu Sign Language”. In Sign Language Typology Series: Vol(4) – Village Sign Languages, edited by Ulrike Zeshan & Connie de Vos. Preston; Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter: 2012.

Brimblecombe J, Mackerras D, Garnggulkpuy Dhurrkay J, Maypilama E, Bundhala L, Dhurrkay R et al. Leanness and type 2 diabetes in a population of Indigenous Australians. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2006.(IF: 1.837) (Cited:8).

Cargo M, Daniel M, Marks E, Brimblecombe J, Scarlett M, Maypilama E, Dhurrkay JG. Integrating an ecological approach into an Aboriginal community-based chronic disease prevention program: A longitudinal process evaluation.(ANZJPH).

Lowell A, Budukulawuy, Gurimangu, Maypilama, E & Nyomba (1995). Communication and learning in an Aboriginal school: The influence of conductive hearing loss.Aboriginal Child at School 23(4) pp.1-7.

Other Publications

Research Reports

Lowell, A. Maypilama, E. Yikaniwuy, S. Rrappa, E. Williams, R. Dunn, S. (2010) Taking control of chronic disease: strengthening communication and education strategies supporting self-management for Indigenous consumers. Project Report for DoHA.

Maypilama, E., Gar\gulkpuy, J., Murakami-Gold, L., and Dunbar, T., (2007) First Language Indigenous Research and Consultation Model Evaluation: Possible Model for future meaningful engagement, ISBN CDU Press.

Maypilama, E., Garnggulkpuy, J., Christie, M., Greatorex, J., and Grace, J., (2004) Yolngu Longgrassers on Larrakia Land, accessed on line 29th October 2007, 17:30 http://learnline.cdu.edu.au/yolngustudies/docs/Longgrass_report.pdf.

Lowell, A. Maypilama, E. Biritjalawuy, D., Health and Education: Exploring the Connections. The Galiwin’ku Story (2002). CRCATH: Darwin.

Maypilama, E., Birritjalawuy, D., Gelu\, M., Buludja\a, S., and Lowell, A (1999) Exploring the Connections, Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Tropical Health.


Lowell A. & Maypilama E. Indigenous health care in Australia: Challenges in communication. International Conference on Communication in Health Care, St. Andrews Scotland 4-7 September 2012.

E. Maypilama Cross- Modal Contact in Shared-Signing communities: Kinship. Paper accepted but not presented for the EuroBABEL final Conference hosted by the European Science Foundation, Leiden, The Netherlands,  23-26 August 2012.

E. Maypilama, and D. Adone. Non-Manual Features in an Alternate Sign Language. Invited paper presented at the National Institute for Deaf Studies and Sign Language. La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. July, 2012.

D. Adone and E. Maypilama. Yolngu Sign Language an Alternate Sign Language? Invited paper presented at TELC meeting, Charles Darwin University, Darwin. Australia. August 2012.

D. Adone and E. Maypilama. Language Mixing between a spoken and signed language: A Case Study of bimodal bilingualism. Paper presented at the Workshop on Language Contact. University of Aarhus. Denmark April 11-13th April 2012.

E. Maypilama, and D. Adone. The Sociolinguistics of Yolŋu Sign Language. Paper presented at TELC meeting, Charles Darwin University, Australia. March, 2012.

E. Maypilama and D. Adone. Bimodal Bilingualism in the Top End. Invited talk at James Cook University, Cairns, Australia.  March, 2012.

Dalywater G, Maypilama E, Phillips J & van den Bogard C. Interactive Workshop: Strengthening community capacity to address nutrition and food security: a show case of effective, evaluated tools.  Promoting Healthy Childhood – Preventing Chronic Conditions. Chronic Diseases Network Conference 2012, Darwin.

Lowell A, Maypilama E & Batumbil P. Keynote: Closing the communication gap in Indigenous health: working together to improve practice and outcomes. Diversity & Development Speech Pathology Australia National Conference, Darwin, June 2011.

D. Adone, A. Bauer, K. Cumberbatch, E. Maypilama & W. Schwager. Looking at the lexicon of Yolŋu Sign Language, Country Sign and Kata Kolok. Paper presented at Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research 10, Purdue University, USA, September 2010.

Lowell A, Maypilama E & Batumbil P. Invited presentation. Communication in Remote Indigenous Health Care - Challenges and Strategies. Royal Australian College of Physicians Congress. Darwin, May 2011.

Lowell A. Maypilama E, Yikaniway S, Rrapa E, Williams R, Dunn S. 14th Annual Chronic Disease Network Conference Plenary Session: Taking Control of Chronic Disease: strengthening communication and education strategies for Indigenous consumers, Darwin, Australia, 9 September 2010.

Indigenous Economic Development Forum 2006, Indigenous Research and Consultation Model Presentation, Darwin, accessed on line 29th October 2007, 17:59 www.ied.nt.gov.au/docs/first_language.pdf.

2006 Garma Festival Presentation Workshop 5 and Panel Member: What support exists and what do homeland centres, knowledge centres, and remote educational centres need to promote education and training?  2006 GARMA Key Forum Report, p.32 accessed on line 29th October 2007, CDU, 17:40 http://www.cdu.edu.au/garma/.

Childhood Influences on Adult Chronic Disease: Making the links – improving the outcomes, Presentation in the Families & Environments Working Together to Stay Together Concurrent Session, Yalu Mar\githinyaraw, Nurturing Galiwinku, Youth, 9th Annual Conference in Darwin, September 2005

Maypilama, E Garnggulkpuy, J Brimblecombe, J Scarlett M. Ralmanapanmirr: working together for a healthy future: linking the web. 8th Annual Chronic Disease Network Conference, Darwin NT, September 2004.

Picture of Elaine Maypilama


Address : c/- Galiwin'ku Post Office
                  Elcho Island
Darwin NT 0822 
0458 779 871