Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bandaiyan

Perhaps Australia really looks like this - an animal floating on its back in the ocean. As drawn and explained by David Banggal Mowaljarlai:
The squares are the areas where the communities are represented, and their symbols and the languages of the different tribes in this country from long-long time ago. The lines are the way the history stories travelled along these trade routes. They are all interconnected. It's the pattern of the Sharing system.
In history, the Flood started up north and went all through the country. We call this land wurri malai - stooped, because it's sloping down, bent. ...
The whole of Australia is Bandaiyan. The front we call wadi, the belly-section, because the continent is lying down flat on its back. it is just sticking out from the surface of the ocean. ...
Inside the body is Wunggud, the Snake. She grows all of nature on the outside of her body. The sides are unggnu djullu, rib-section. This rib-section goes right across the country, above the navel. Uluru is the navel, the center, wangigit. The part below the navel is wambut, the pubic section. There is a woman's section, njambut; and a man's section, ambut....
On sundown side and in the east the connection extends out to the islands, because it was a bigger continent before the Flood.

David Mowaljarlai and Jutta Malnic, Yorro Yorro: everything standing up alive. Spirit of the Kimberley (Broome, WA: Magabala Books, 1993), 190-91, picture 205.

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