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Sharing our story < Gurindji Freedom Banners

Mumkurla-nginyi-ma Parrngalinyparla

“From the Darkness into the Light” Gurindji Freedom Banners
A celebration of the determination and vision of the people of Daguragu and Kalkaringi

This series of banners was made with the support and involvement of the Daguragu and Kalkaringi community (consisting of Gurindji, Ngarinman, Bilinara, Mudbura and Warlpiri people) as a means of commemorating the events of the 1966 Wave Hill Walk Off. Click on each banner image for more

Ngumpittu jilyarrawu pulumanu manana

Mustering

Ngurra ngunarlu yanani ngawu-ma tankjirri karnatiti-yawang

Carrying water

Mangarri jalajkarra manana jankaku kamparnup; kula jangkarni

Making damper

Kartiparlu ngungantipa warlaku-marraj karrwanani ... ngunayinangkulu parik wanyjarni

They treated us like dogs ... we walked off

Junarnirla ngunalu rurrijkarra mani ngawawu yipurrk; lawara rurrijkma ...

At Junarni we dig for water in vain ...

Kujarrawurt ngungantipanykulu yangki pani lurrpu warukku
“Lawara kulanalu wart yanku”

Twice they came to ask us back to work “No, we’re not going back”

Ngantipany ngurra ngunalu mani Daguragu

We took Daguragu as our home

Ngumpittu nguwula junypa wanyjarnana

Two men dancing

Kajirri kujarra nguwula warrkap wanyjarnana junypa

Two women dancing

Mumkurla-nginyi-ma Parrngalinyparla

The handback: from the Darkness into the Light

Banners background story
On 23 August 1966 Vincent Lingiari led members of his Gurindji tribe and other groups off Wave Hill Station, owned by the British Vestey’s group of companies. What was apparently an industrial dispute over appalling work and living conditions rapidly revealed itself as a demand by the Gurindji people for the return of their traditional lands. It was a demand that was to spread throughout Aboriginal Australia and the beginning of a struggle by Aborigines that continues to this day.

The importance of the Wave Hill strike to the broader Aboriginal struggle for land rights cannot be underestimated.
The Mumkurla-nginyi-ma Parrngalinyparla Gurindji Freedom Banners project began in 1999 when artist Joanna Barrkman came to Daguragu and Kalkaringi for the annual Gurindji Freedom Day celebrations. Joanna and linguist Erika Charola were accompanied by a group of elders to the various sites at Old Wave Hill Station — Jinparrak — where the elders recollected stories of their experiences and memories of work and life at the station prior to the 1996 Walk Off.

On her return to the community in May 2000 Joanna, with the help of Chips Mackinolty, commenced consultations for the banner project with senior women and men respectively. Using historical photographs which Joanna had collected in Darwin, and field trips as triggers, the women and men recalled their Walk Off experiences. A design concept emerged from this process which was approved by the elders at a meeting where they also named the project. During this research and with additional work by Erika Charola, the community identified 258 people who participated in the Walk Off who are for the first time publicly recognised in the banners.

Using computer generated graphic designs, the process of making the banners began at the Daguragu Art & Craft Centre. Over a period of six weeks community artists, primarily Rosemary Bernard, Sheila Albert, Susan Cebu and Phillip Jimmy worked alongside Joanna to realise the designs.

Mumkurla-nginyi-ma Parrngalinyparla Gurindji Freedom Banners is a commemorative work that celebrates the determination and vision of the people of Daguragu and Kalkaringi. The banners were unveiled as part of Gurindji Freedom Day celebrations at Kalkaringi on 18 August 2000 and as part of the 5th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture in Darwin on 24 August 2000.

Mumkurla-nginyi-ma Parrngalinyparla Gurindji Freedom Banners was funded by the Community Cultural Development Fund of the Australia Council, the Federal arts funding and advisory body. The project was also supported by the Diwurruwurru-jaru Regional Aboriginal Language Centre, Katherine, and administered by the Daguragu Community Government Council.

Project workers
Artist/project director: Joanna Barrkman
Graphic artist/researcher: Chips Mackinolty
Linguist: Erika Charola
Transcriptions/interpretive material: Ceinwen Grose

Research/design concept participants
Violet Wadrill, Marie Jabany, Topsy Dodd, Nancy Frith, Molly Dodd, Mildred Jiwijiwij, Connie Ngarrmaya, Ida Malyika, Queenie Bernard, Vera Vincent, Pauline Ryan, Helen Morris, Joanne Stevens, Victor Vincent, Jimmy Wave Hill, Roy Yunga, Mick Rangiari, Peanut Puntiyarri, Ronnie Wave Hill, Billy Bunter Jampijinpa

Banner makers
Sheila Albert, Rosemary Bernard, Susan Cebu, Phillip Jimmy, Pauline Ryan, Susan Sambo

Painters
Rosemary Bernard, Sheila Albert, Biddy Wave Hill, Kirsten Jimmy, Carolyn Jimmy, Kitty Mintawurr, Violet Wadrill

Language/Text
Roslyn Frith Rosemary Bernard Mick Rangiari

Thanks to
Brian Manning; Ceinwen Grose; Gary Cartwright; Mervyn Bishop; Marianne van der Sluis; Claudia Gamberini; Joe Gallagher; Therese Ritchie; J Bird; Peter Cooke; Del Boyd; Central Land Council; Northern Land Council; NT Oral History Unit; In Focus; Copytime; Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority; Australian Heritage Commission.

Oral histories © 2000 the speakers; Banners © 2000 Joanna Barrkman/Daguragu Community Government Council; Cover photograph, “Dawn: fence line Walk Off route” © 2000 Chips Mackinolty; Catalogue Design Green Ant ©2000