Image: 30 x 78cm Paper: 56 x 78cm
It was in the wangarr, ancestral times, when the Guwak men, Munuminya and Yikawanga, sitting under the shade of the sacred Marawili tree, instructed the ancestral koel cuckoo Guwak to lead the Maŋgalili people to this new place they had established for them at Djarrakpi.
Having seen the people settled in their new homeland they announced to the Maŋgalili their farewell, that they, the Guwak men were to travel out to sea, to a place in the sky and that they would become stars which would shine out of the night sky.
So a canoe and paddles were made and their journey began by paddling down the Milngiya River which flows into the Blue Mud Bay near Djarrakpi. In the bay, at a place of significance, strong winds developed and capsized the canoe – the men drowned.
At this place is the site of Yingalpiya, the freshwater crocodile’s nesting place. This same place is the spirit source for Maŋgalili people. The Guwak Men, it was said, had attempts made on them to be rescued.
A special log Milkamirri or Bandumul, containing mangrove worms offered itself as assistance. Ŋoykal the ancestral king fish is also manifest in this form. Even the rock cod they had caught for their journey offered assistance, as did Dhäla the sea creature.
It was to no avail however as the men had destined themselves as offerings, to the night sky where they and subsequent Maŋgalili souls are seen today in the Milky Way. These Maŋgalili souls attain their celestial position by means of possum fur string Burrkun that connects Djarrakpi at the site of the Marawili tree to night sky. Miliyawuy or Milngiya as the Milky Way is also looked upon as the nesting place for the ancestral crocodiles Yingalpiya. The river itself is shown as it is today after it was sung into the sky by these Maŋgalili heroes – the Milky Way.
Printed at the Australian National University, School of Art. Printmaker Alison Alder