Baymarrwaŋa & Bentley – Red Book, Blue Book … Big Boss …

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Dr. Zeuss …

‘Virtue’ Portrait of Baymarrwaŋa

Baymarrwangga_highres

‘Virtue’ Portrait of Baymarrwaŋa at Milingimbi by Gill Warden (entrant Archibald Prize) 2013.

Born before the coming of the missions Baymarrwaŋa recalls the seasonal patterns of inter-island travels in the lives of island people in the old days. Surviving foreign fishermen, the usurpation of her homelands, WW2 bombings and forced assimilation, Big Boss as she is affectionately known, started a homeland and school on Murruŋga Island to give back the children’s language and heritage. Raising seven boys, she showed a younger generation the value of walking in the footsteps of the ancestors. She believed very strongly that we must show the world by resisting pressures to assimilate because our culture and languages are unique gifts for the future of all people. Light-heartedly she recalls meeting Bentley in 1993;

‘Yuṯam dharramu garana baŋubal. Nani dhuŋa guya milawa mana man’taṉ, rulka murru rebamthala mana yugupala. Ŋarra mananha marŋgiyunha warrpamgu gana nani buthuru dhumuluŋu. The young man came to the islands. He was unable to catch a fish, collect his dinner or even light the fire and so I had to teach him everything as he was helpless and illiterate’.[1]

The projects they generated to promote innovations in Yan-nhaŋu local knowledge and encourage residence on ‘healthy homelands’ were guided by the principle; ‘Ŋalinyu märr buḻaŋgitj marrkapthana linyalama linyu ga romnha’. We respect each other and the law.’[2] Together, with little to no support, they generated a family of interlinked collaborative projects to create language learning through the life cycle.

EBEN

Bentley and Baymarrwaŋa talking Yan-nhaŋu, the language of the Crocodile Islands. Murruŋga 2009

In her late eighties and with no English Baymarrwaŋa worked in Yolŋu matha with Bentley, and together they visited and recorded the first Yan-nhaŋu maps (600 sites). Starting with barely 250 Yan-nhaŋu words having previously been recorded they began the Yan-nhaŋu dictionary team (1993-4) preparing the first Yan-nhaŋu dictionary, first ethnography, and using self-generated funds, create a family of lasting collaborative projects. Side by side they created conceived, designed and ran the Crocodile Islands Rangers and junior rangers programs, an on-line (talking-pictorial) trilingual dictionary for homelands schools, multi-generational ‘Language Nests’ project, heritage protection projects on the fish-traps, fresh water wells, fire regimes, creating cultural artefacts, and care for and registration of sacred sites on the Crocodile Islands. They conceived of and negotiated the creation of a turtle sanctuary and were working towards a plan to feed local children everyday with local fish caught and distributed by local rangers, ‘Lima gurrku guya riya-gunhanyini ŋalimalamagu gurruṯuwaygu : We will share our fish with our kin.[3] Senior Australian of the Year 2012, she produced and paid for the lion’s share of the Yan-nhaŋu Atlas and Illustrated Dictionary of the Crocodile Islands, and was deeply grateful to those gracious people that donated to assist her in this work. People who shared her vivid insight. At 576 pages it was a daunting and time consuming task to distribute these unique books to the children of north east Arnhem Land for free. It took over two years to reach the children in over thirty homelands, twelve schools, eight ranger programs, and three hundred libraries nationally. Truly, hers was a gift for the future of all Australian children.

BBEN

Baymarrwaŋa and Bentley making plans for a culture based future on the islands. Murruŋga 2010.

Together they originated life cycle language learning activities and employment for kin through Ranger projects on country, and also hundreds of hours of language recording on the Homelands comprising a priceless collection of her language, so very nearly extinguished. This work has recently been continued with a new project in Maypal, Mayali’ ga Wäŋa: Shellfish, Meaning & Place. A Yolŋu Bilingual Identification Guide to Shellfish of North East Arnhem Land. NAILSMA Ltd.

Bentley has worked on this project for the last three years guided by the principle; ‘Ŋalinyu märr buḻaŋgitj marrkapthana linyalama linyu ga romnha’. We respect each other and the law.’ Following in a direct line from his work with the Big Boss and the Yan-nhaŋu Atlas and Illustrated Dictionary of the Crocodile Islands, the Maypal, Mayali’ ga Wäŋa project marries two very different knowledge systems combining intimate Yolŋu wisdom of place with that of modern western science.

Maypal, Mayali’ ga Wäŋa: Shellfish, Meaning & Place. A Yolŋu Bilingual Identification Guide to Shellfish of North East Arnhem Land.

MAYPAL BOOK TWO (2)MAYPAL BOOK TWO (1)

On the surface, it is a bilingual book that explains, describes and educates about the availability, names and distribution of shellfish (maypal) throughout the varied ecological zones of Arnhem Land in northern Australia. Precise scientific (Linnaean) identifications with matching colour photographs make it the only comprehensive field guide to Australian shellfish above the tropic of Capricorn and utterly unique.

At its heart, Shellfish, Meaning & Place project captures Yolŋu ways of collaborating, exchanging and engaging with place. Born of the inter-generational generosity of kin and their vision for the future it has taken years to create this book. It engaged extended networks of senior knowledge holders and speakers of many languages from Blue Mud Bay in the east to the Crocodile Islands in the West and beyond.

Original Yolŋu poetry in five languages evokes imagery of the ancestors, seasonal winds and maypal.

aadaaapic

The book, organized in Yolŋu alphabetical order, is designed as a resource for bilingual education in schools on homelands and communities. It appeals to those who care for and depend on the marine and coastal environments of North East Arnhem Land and those who want to know more about Yolŋu kinship with the sea. Bringing together again the photographic skills of David Hancock and designer Therese Ritchie it is a work of lush and splendid beauty reminiscent of the Yan-nhangu Atlas.

Lists of Yolŋu ecological communities or zones specify the place, home or wäŋa where particular maypal live. A key to identification indicates the many Yolŋu names for maypal, also alternative scientific identifications that have been recorded in the past – as many may still have currency – and lists sources, resources and bibliography.

It includes a beautiful colour map by cartographer Simon Watkinson tracing the broader geographical range of Yolŋu languages and important named sites. Gäwa song man and elder Dhawa says– The north wind tells of the ancestors and the time of maypal. Intricate circular seasonal calendars reveal the names of the winds and seasons of Gäwa and cyclic return of resources in the Warramiri language.

From a linguistic perspective, the book refers indirectly to the distinctive and connected world-views of over fifty North east Arnhem Land clans (bäpurru) speaking some seven discrete Yolŋu languages and their many dialects.

DBEN

Bentley and Baymarrwaŋa recording dance, songs, stories and poetry of the distant sea. Murruŋga 2010.

Following in the tradition started by the Senior Australian of the Year Laurie Baymarrwaŋa, the book Maypal, Mayali’ ga Wäŋa will be made a gift for children across Arnhem Land. The Maypal, Mayali’ ga Wäŋa book project has been supported by North Australian Indigenous Sea and Land Managers Alliance Ltd.

For more information on this project and its antecedents see the following references.

References

Baymarrwaŋa, L., James, B., Barraṯawuy, M and the Yan-nhaŋu Dictionary Team. Forthcoming. The Yan-nhaŋu Grammar.

Aigner, K (editor), 2017.  Australia: the Vatican Museums collection.  CittaÌ del Vaticano : Edizioni Musei Vaticani Text by: K. Aigner, K. Akerman, H. Boyd, P. Dodson, D. Ferguson, J. Healy, J. Hunt, B. James, W.P. Jampijinpa, P. Jones, S. Kleinert, A. McGrath, I. McLean, H. Morphy, B. Pascoe, A. Poelina, B. Rooney, J. Ryan, T. Swain, M. West. Exhibition Vatican City Vatican Museums Ethnological Collection. Vatican City, Rome, Italy.

Poem: Baymarrwaŋa, L. 2016, Lima barrŋarra ŋalamaya wata dhuptana gurrku gayaŋa warguguyana mana limalanha ŋurruṉaŋgalbu. When we hear the wind blow our thoughts turn to our ancestors. In James, Bentley & NAILSMA Ltd. in Maypal, Mayali’ ga Wäŋa: Shellfish, Meaning & Place. A Yolŋu Bilingual Identification Guide to Shellfish of North East Arnhem Land. NAILSMA Ltd. p18

Portrait: Baymarrwaŋa, L. 2016, B&W (Bapa Shepi: Rev. Harold Shepherdson collection) in James, Bentley & NAILSMA Ltd Maypal, Mayali’ ga Wäŋa: Shellfish, Meaning & Place. A Yolŋu Bilingual Identification Guide to Shellfish of North East Arnhem Land. NAILSMA Ltd. p10.

Posthumous award of the United Nations Peace Prize for Indigenous Film. 2015. ‘Big Boss Last Leader of the Crocodile Islands: Buŋgawa bathala rom ḏäl ga rälpa ḏumurru’. Year: 2015. NITV; Runtime: 53 min, Directed By: Paul Sinclair, Produced By: Jade Sinclair Matt Dwyer, Language: Yan-nhangu language, English subtitles

Baymarrwaŋa, L, and B, James. 2014. Yan-nhaŋu Atlas and Illustrated Dictionary of the Crocodile Islands. Tien wah press, Singapore & Sydney Australia. p 576

Baymarrwaŋa, L. James, B. and Lydon, J. 2014, ‘The Myalls’ Ultimatum’: Photography and the Yolngu in Eastern Arnhem Land, 1917 in J. Lydon (ed) Calling the Shots: Aboriginal Photographies, (Canberra, ACT: Aboriginal Studies Press)

Baymarrwaŋa, L. Milinditj and Horniblow T. 2014. Nhaŋu dhaŋuny giyitibu. Murruŋga Homeland Learning Centre Milingimbi CEC.

Baymarrwaŋa, L. Milinditj and Horniblow T. 2014. Nhaŋu dhaŋuny garambakabu. Murruŋga Homeland Learning Centre Milingimbi CEC.

James, Bentley. Painting Virtue: A portrait of Laurie Baymarrwangga [online]. Art Monthly Australia, No. 261, Jul 2013: 32-33.

Portrait ‘virtue’ 1.45m x1.45m oil and (ratjpa) ochre on canvas Gillian Warden, (Archibald Prize: 2013), hanging in NAILSMA North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Managers Alliance at the North Australian Research Unit NARU. Darwin.

Baymarrwaŋa, L. James, B., 2012. Salt Water Burning: Yan-nhaŋu Innovation in Land & Sea Management in the Crocodile Islands. Report for Crocodile Islands Rangers. Milingimbi. N.T. 0822.

Baymarrwaŋa, L. James, B. 2012. Salt Water Burning: Yan-nhaŋu Innovation in Land & Sea Management in the Crocodile Islands. Maps, plans and directions for customary burning behaviours on the outer and inner islands for Crocodile Islands Rangers Milingimbi. N.T. 0822.

James, B., Baymarrwaŋa, L. 2011. Yan-nhaŋu Dictionary: 1994-2011 in ‘Voice Of The Land’ – Spring. FATSIL issue 7 (15-17)

Baymarrwaŋa, L. James, B. and M, Barraṯawuy, 2011 Ranger Story. Seasonal work activities of the Crocodile Islands Rangers, Bilingual text Murruŋga Homelands School.

Baymarrwaŋa, L. James, B. and M, Barraṯawuy, 2011 Seasons of the Crocodile Islands, Bilingual text Murruŋga Homelands School.

Baymarrwaŋa, L., James, B., Barraṯawuy, M., Watkinson, S., Bussini, C. Yan-nhaŋu Ecological Data Base. Yan-nhaŋu Language and Ancestral Geography of the Crocodile Islands. 2010. 5OOO Geo-spatial entries linked to 600 named sites in the Crocodile Islands. Author’s collection.

Commemorative Stamps 2012 Australia Post. Australians Who Make Us Proud. Laurie Baymarrawangga Community Elder. 2012 . Australian Postal Corporation publishers, Sydney. Australia.

Baymarrwangga, L., James, B and Lydon, J. 2011, Conciliation Narratives Conflict and Conciliation Across Empires: The ‘Myalls’ Ultimatum’: Photography, Negotiation and Reconciliation in the Crocodile Islands. Public Lecture Melbourne University, VIC.

Baymarrwaŋa, L. James, B. 2010a. Kantri liaf : Talking Culture on Country. Yan-nhaŋu, Issue 6 July 2010 Page 14-17 CDU Press, Darwin. N.T.

Baymarrwaŋa, L. James, B. and M, Barraṯawuy, 2009 unpublished bilingual report Yan- nhaŋu Ecological Knowledge and Learning in the Crocodile Islands NAISMA. Country visits, recordings, video, DVD, bilingual report.

Baymarrwaŋa, L. James, B. and M, Barraṯawuy, 2009. Lloyd Warner, TT Webb and Donald Thomson at Murruŋga. Unpublished report, recordings and photos at the MOPRA shed.

Baymarrwaŋa, L. James, B. and the Yan-nhaŋu dictionary team, 2007. Gokuluyu Mana Bulthunway, Yan-nhaŋu hand signs of the Crocodile Islands. Unpublished notes.

James. B., Baymarrwaŋa, L., Gularrbaŋg,R., Darga, M., Nyambal, R., Nyŋunyuŋu 2, M. 2003. Yan-nhaŋu Dictionary. Milingimbi, CEC Literature Production Centre Northern Territory University press. Darwin. N.T.

Baymarrwaŋa, L. James, B. 2003. Yindi Djimikubu Dhaŋuny: Putting up the Telstra Tower at Murruŋga. Bilingual text Murruŋga Homelands School.

James. B., Baymarrwaŋa, L., Gularrbaŋga,R., Djarga, M., Nyambal, R., Nyuŋunyuŋu No 2, M. 1994-2001. Draft Yan-nhaŋu Dictionary. Unpublished maps, grammar, ethno-linguistic notes, purpose and aims Yan-nhaŋu Dictionary Team. Author’s collection.

Baymarrwaŋa, L. James, B. 2002. ‘Garriwa’: Turtles of the Crocodile Islands. Bilingual text Murruŋga Homelands School.

Baymarrwaŋa, L. James, B. 1998a. Unpublished notes on Yan-nhaŋu Sorcery and Ritual at Murruŋga.

Baymarrwaŋa, L. James, B. 1998b. Unpublished notes on Yan-nhaŋu Sorcery and Ritual at Gurriba.

Baymarrwaŋa, L. James, B. 1997. Unpublished notes on Marine Turtle Custodians of Murruŋga.

Baymarrwaŋa, L. James, B. 1996. Unpublished notes on Yan-nhaŋu, Language of the Crocodile Islands.

Baymarrwaŋa, L. James, B. 1994. Unpublished notes on Yan-nhaŋu, Language of the Crocodile Islands.

Film.

‘Big Boss Last Leader of the Crocodile Islands: Buŋgawa bathala rom ḏäl ga rälpa ḏumurru’. Year: 2015. NITV; Runtime: 53 min, Directed By: Paul Sinclair, Produced By: Jade Sinclair Matt Dwyer, Language: Yan-nhangu language, English subtitles

Big Boss.’ Year: 2012 Ronin Films, Runtime: 25 min, Directed By: Paul Sinclair, Produced By: Tom Zubrycki, Language: Yan-nhangu language, English subtitles

‘Big Boss Race Against Time.’ Year: 2011. Mirrimirri Films and ATOM, Runtime: 26 min, Directed By: Paul Sinclair, Produced By: Jade Sinclair Matt Dwyer, Language: Yan-nhangu language, English subtitles; Work guide for students 20p PDF. Australian teachers of media http://www.theeducationshop.com.au.

‘Crocodile Islands Rangers.’ Year: 2010. Mirrimirri Films, Runtime: 26 min, Directed By: Paul Sinclair, Produced By: Jade Sinclair Matt Dwyer, Language: Yan-nhangu language, English subtitles

Research.

Hundreds of hours of audio and video recordings on numerous topics related to language and life on the Crocodile Islands.

On-line references

http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2015/11/11/crocodile-islands-documentary-wins-un-media-peace-award

http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/492921411902/the-last-leader-of-the-crocodile-islands

http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/video/492921411902/The-Last-Leader-Of-The-Crocodile-Islands

https://www.roninfilms.com.au/video/0/40/8078.html?searchby=detailsSee

http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/191311035?q=+&versionId=208758364

https://www.nailsma.org.au/crocodile-islands-initiative.html

https://www.nailsma.org.au/laurie-baymarrwangga-senior-australian-year-2012.html

http://www.nailsma.org.au/hub/resources/video/time-and-tide-crocodile-islands-video.html

https://www.nailsma.org.au/hub/resources/video/fish-traps-murrungga-islands.html

https://www.nailsma.org.au/hub/resources/video/crocodile-island-rangers-video.html

https://drbentleyjames.wordpress.com/

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/a-thorn-in-our-pride-20120129-1qnw4.html

https://www.facebook.com/Crocodile-Islands-Homelands-227249887351925/

http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2015/11/11/crocodile-islands-documentary-wins-un-media-peace-award

https://www.australianoftheyear.org.au/honour-roll/?view=fullView&recipientID=780

https://museumvictoria.com.au/about/mv-blog/feb-2012/senior-australian-of-the-year/?reply=22242&sortby=likecount

http://bushtv.com.au/team/laurie-bayamarrawangga/

https://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=488819924002495;res=IELLCC

https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/calendar/borderlands-photography-and-cultural-contest/

http://nirs.org.au/news/donations-sought-for-trilingual-atlas

Laurie Baymarrwangga: la grande bisnonna.

https://aiatsis.gov.au/sites/default/files/docs/digitised_collections/the_koori_mail/584.pdf?width=900&height=800&iframe=true

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurie_Baymarrwangga

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nhangu_language

https://www.youtube.com/user/CrocIsRangers

http://crocodileislandsrangers.com/

https://crocodileislandsrangers.wordpress.com/category/uncategorized/

Big Boss Baymarrwaŋa at Murruŋga working on the Yan-nhaŋu Atlas and Illustrated Dictionary of the Crocodile Islands 2009.

BAYMARRWANGGA

[1](Baymarrwaŋa, L and B, James. 2014: 6)

[2] (Baymarrwaŋa, L and B, James. 2014: 7)

[3](Life time Achievement Award -NTNRM 2011)

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One thought on “Baymarrwaŋa & Bentley – Red Book, Blue Book … Big Boss …

  1. Lindsay Cameron says:

    Congratulations on the release of the new book Bentley. What a wonderful legacy for the people above the tropic of Capricorn

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