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Our Councillors

Residents of each of West Arnhem Regional Council’s four wards elect representative councillors at general elections. At the first available meeting of Council following a general election, the councillors appoint a Mayor and Deputy Mayor. These elected representatives sit as the West Arnhem Regional Council on a monthly basis.

Twelve councillors were elected at the most recent local government general elections held in 2021. 


View the map of the West Arnhem Wards.


Vacancies are filled as necessary through by-elections as listed on the Northern Territory Electoral Commission website.


To read more about each councillor, click on their picture below.



  • Cr Otto Dann

  • Cr Gabby Gumurdul

  • Cr Donna Nadjamerrek


  • Cr James Marrawal - Warruwi


  • Cr Henry Guwiyul - Minjilang


  • Deputy Mayor Elizabeth Williams

  • Cr Catherine Ralph

  • Cr Ralph Blyth


  • Mayor Matthew Ryan

  • Cr Jacqueline Phillips

  • Cr James Woods

  • Cr Julius Don Kernan

Cr Otto Dann

Bio to come.

Cr Gabby Gumurdul

Bio to come.

Donna Nadjamerrek

Bio to come.

Cr James Marrawal

Cr James Marrawal was born and grew up at Warruwi and attended the local community school before he was old enough to move to Darwin for secondary studies at Kormilda College and later Darwin High School.

After leaving school he attended Batchelor Institute to further his education, and gained numerous certificates in the area of health.

James was employed for several years as area health worker before taking on his current role as a Senior Ranger, supervising several rangers in the West Arnhem region.

James is married with three children – two girls and a boy – and four grandchildren.

A traditional owner for Wunyu Country, also known as Sandy Creek, James is a respected leader for the people of Warruwi.

As a young person, he was well-known in the community for his athletic ability on the footy field, with the potential to play representative footy at the highest level.

Cr James Marrawal’s focus and commitment ensures the Council delivers quality services, promotes healthy lifestyles, and creates career paths and long-term employment for Indigenous people.

Cr Henry Guwiyul

Bio to come.

Deputy Mayor Elizabeth Williams

Deputy Mayor Elizabeth Williams has already demonstrated a 17 year commitment to Jabiru and the region, and brings an abundance of knowledge, proficiency and enthusiasm to Council and to the constituents of Kakadu Ward.

She has a very strong connection to the region, having been born in Darwin and has lived periodically in Minjilang on Croker Island. Elizabeth cites her passion for education, health and housing in the communities of West Arnhem.

With five children and 11 grandchildren, she is very family-orientated and enjoys spending her spare time with family and friends when she is not working at Charles Darwin University as the Centre Administrator.

With her experience in supporting students through their studies, Elizabeth believes education, training and supporting youth is key as well as creating a safe, happy place to grow up in.

Like her fellow councillors, she is passionate about the region and wants to achieve the best for the community.

Elizabeth is proud to call Jabiru home and plans to remain in the region for as long as she can with her family.

Councillor Williams is a member of the Kakadu Deadly Runners and also enjoys dancing, travelling and learning new things.

Cr Catherine Ralph

Position to be filled.

Cr Ralph Blyth

Bio to come.

Mayor Matthew Ryan

Mayor Matthew Ryan was elected as Mayor at the Local Government General Election in 2017.

A community leader in Maningrida for more than a decade, Mayor Ryan believes in promoting Indigenous rights.

Matthew was born in Royal Darwin Hospital and raised in Maningrida, where he lives with his wife Charlene Bonson and their four children.

After receiving his Primary and Secondary education at Maningrida School, Matthew joined Northern Territory Police, giving many years of service to his community as an Aboriginal Community Police Officer.

Matthew has held the position of Councillor for Maningrida Ward since West Arnhem Regional Council was established, as West Arnhem Shire Council, in 2008.

Prior to the Shire days, Matthew was a Councillor with the Maningrida Council.

He has also served as a Councillor with Northern Land Council since 2004, and is currently Senior Liaison Officer with Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation.

Outside of work Matthew is a keen hunter and fisherman.

Mayor Matthew Ryan is the Jongi for Benenbenbi (Stone Country), which is his mother’s and grandfather’s country.

Cr Jacqueline Phillips

Bio to come.

Cr James Woods

Bio to come.


Cr Julius Don Kernan

Bio to come.