Page 1:

"Ŋ, ŋ, ŋ," bitjan ŋuli ga waṉ'kurrany waŋa.

"Ŋ, ŋ, ŋ," that's what the bandicoot says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl ganguriw nyaŋ'thunaraw."

"I like eating bush yams."

Page 2:

"Mu, mu, mu," bitjan ŋuli ga murryilnydja waŋa.

"Mu, mu, mu," that's what the Torres Strait pigeon says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl ŋathaw maŋutjiw nyaŋ'thunaraw."

"I like eating seeds."

Page 3:

"Nyo-o-o," bitjan ŋuli ga wärraŋdja nyowyun.

"Nyo-o-o," that's what the dingo says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl djandaw nyaŋ'thunaraw."

"I like eating goanna."

Page 4:

"Moo-o-o," bitjan ŋuli ga detuŋdja waŋa.

"Moo-o-o," that's what the buffalo says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl mulmuw nyaŋ'thunaraw."

"I like eating grass."

Page 5:

"Ŋak, ŋak, ŋak," bitjan ŋuli ga gurrumaṯtjiny waŋa.

"Ŋak, ŋak, ŋak," that's what the magpie goose says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl räkaywu nyaŋ'thunaraw."

"I like eating water chestnuts."

Page 6:

"Gek, gek, gek," bitjan ŋuli ga muthaliny' waŋa.

"Gek, gek, gek," that's what the duck says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl wäkwakku maŋutjiw nyaŋ'thunaraw."

 "I like eating waterlily root."

Page 7:

"Wäk, wäk, wäk," bitjan ŋuli ga wäktja waŋa.

"Wäk, wäk, wäk," that's what the Torresian crow says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl bawalamirriw ŋathaw nyaŋ'thunaraw."

"I like eating any food."

 Page 8:

"Ḻatj, ḻatj, ḻatj," bitjan ŋuli ga ḻatjḻatjtja waŋa.

"Ḻatj, ḻatj, ḻatj," that's what the northern rosella says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl munydjutjku nyaŋ'thunaraw."

 "I like eating wild green plums."

Page 9:

"Ŋäk, ŋäk, ŋäk," bitjan ŋuli ga wämuttja waŋa.

"Ŋäk, ŋäk, ŋäk," that's what the wedge-tailed eagle says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl nyumukuṉiny'ku ŋarirriw' mala nyaŋ'thunaraw."

"I like eating little fish."

Page 10:

"Wo, wo," bitjan ŋuli ga worr'wurrnydja waŋa.

"Wo, wo," that's what the owl says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl nyiknyikku nyaŋ'thunaraw."

"I like eating mice."

Page 11:

"Ḏam, ḏam, ḏam," bitjan ŋuli ga ratjuktja waŋa.

"Ḏam, ḏam, ḏam," that's what the barramundi says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl nyumukuṉiny'mirriw mala ŋarirriw' nyaŋ'thunaraw."

"I like eating little fish."

Page 12:

"Wer', wer', wer'," bitjan ŋuli ga marrŋuny' waŋa.

"Wer,' wer,' wer'," that's what the possum says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl ŋathuw nyaŋ'thunaraw."

"I like eating cycad nuts."

Page 13:

"Ŋak, ŋak, ŋak," bitjan ŋuli ga ḏamalany waŋa.

"Ŋak, ŋak, ŋak," that's what the white-breasted sea eagle says. 

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl ŋarirriw' nyaŋ'thunaraw."

 "I like eating fish."

Page 14:

"Guriŋ, guriŋ," bitjan ŋuli ga warrnyuny' waŋa.

"Guriŋ, guriŋ," that's what the fruit bat says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl borumgu mala nyaŋ'thunaraw."

"I like eating fruit."

Page 15:

"Get, get, get," bitjan ŋuli ga getkittja waŋa.

"Get, get, get," that's what the tern says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl nyumukuṉiny'ku ŋarirriw' mala nyaŋ'thunaraw."

"I like eating little fish."

Page 16:

"Garrurr, garrurr," bitjan ŋuli ga bäruny waŋa.

"Garrurr, garrurr," that's what the crocodile says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl mirriyaw' mala nyaŋ'thunaraw."

"I like eating blue crabs."

Page 17:

"Wir', wir', wir'," bitjan ŋuli ga wopuluny waŋa.

"Wir', wir', wir'," that's what the black-shouldered kite says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl ḏetjku mala nyaŋ'thunaraw."

"I like eating grasshoppers."

Page 18

"Ŋerrk, ŋerrk, ŋerrk," bitjan ŋuli ga ŋerrktja waŋa.

"Ŋerrk, ŋerrk, ŋerrk," that's what the sulphur crested cockatoo says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl gäŋaw nyaŋ'thunaraw."

"I like eating wild passionfruit."

Page 19:

"Guḏurrk, guḏurrk," bitjan ŋuli ga guḏurrkuny waŋa.

"Guḏurrk, guḏurrk," that's what the brolga says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl yaŋaraw' wäkwakku nyaŋ'thunaraw."

"I like eating waterlily stems."

Page 20:

"Bok, buk, buk," bitjan ŋuli ga garkmandja waŋa.

"Bok, buk, buk," that's what the green frog says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl wurruḻuḻ'wu nyaŋ'thunaraw."

"I like eating flies."

Page 21:

"Ḏup, ḏup, ḏup,'" bitjan ŋuli ga wurrpaṉ'tja waŋa.

"Ḏup, ḏup, ḏup," that's what the emu says.

"Ŋarrany yindi djäl dhalpiw nyaŋ'thunaraw."

"I like eating black berries."

Ŋäthil baman' walal marrtjin wakir'lil, bäpa'mirriŋu djeṯ ga ŋäṉḏi'mirriŋu djeṯ ga momu'mirriŋu djeṯ ga yothu ḏirramu djeṯ.

Maṉḏany ŋunhi momu'mirriŋuny ga ŋäṉḏi'mirriŋuny gärrin retjalila ganguriwnha. Ga maṉḏany yothuny ga bäpa'mirrŋuny gan nhinan raŋiŋur, ṉakuw maṉḏa gan djäga.

Bala ŋayiny ŋunhi ḏirramuynydja märraŋal garan ga maŋal'nha, bala yarrupthurra ŋarirriw'nha, ga dharpuŋalnydja ŋayi ŋunhi ḻurrkun' ŋarirriny'.

Bala ŋayi roŋiyinan ŋunhi ḏirramuny bala wäŋalila, bala waŋgapunuŋala ŋunhi ŋarirriny' ŋurrŋgitjlila. Yaka weyin bala ŋayi warrkthurra ŋunhi ŋarirriny'. Bala ŋayi bäpa'mirriŋuynydja ŋäŋ'thurra ŋanya ŋarirriwnha. "Gäthu ŋarranhany gurrupula ŋarirri' go." Bitjarr.

Bala ŋayi gäthu'mirriŋuny waŋan bitjarra, "Yow, dhuwandja barrpany ŋarirri' gurrupanmirr yan". Bala ŋayi nyaŋ'thurra dhawar'maraŋala, ga bäyŋun gurrupar bäpa'mirriŋunhany. Ga ŋayiny bäpa'mirriŋuny bitjarra waŋan nhanŋu, "Yow, gäthu ḻiyalil ŋarra nhuna galkarnydja dhuwal yalalaŋuw". Bitjarr.

Ga ŋayiny muka bäpa'mirriŋuny yarrupthurr ŋarirriw, yurr ṉakuynha ŋayi marrtjinany.

Yaka weyindja ŋayi galkurr, bala nhäŋal bäpa'mirriŋunhany ŋayi marrtjin roŋiyinan. Ga ŋunhi ŋayi dhawaṯthurrnydja bala ŋayi gurthan baṯthurr, bala ŋarirriny' batha'bathara ŋurrŋgitjlila.

Ŋunhi ŋayi warrkthurrnydja ŋarirriny' bäpa'mirriŋuynydja, bala ŋayiny ŋäŋ'thurra gäthu'mirriŋuny. "Bäpa ŋarrakuny gurrupula ŋarirri' go." Ga ŋayiny bitjarra waŋan bäpa'mirriŋuny, "Bäyŋun ŋarra nhuna dhu gurrupan gäthu". Bitjarr.

Bala ŋayi yothuny ŋäthinan, yurr weyinnha ŋayi ŋunhi ŋäthinany, bala ŋayi marrtjin bulka'mirriyinan. Bala ŋayi ŋunhi yothuny bilyurra warrakan'thinan, bala ŋayi buṯthurra.

Ga dhiyaŋuny bala limurr ŋuli nhäma warrakan'nha buṯthunnawuynha ga yäkuny ŋunhi warrakan'tja djeṯnha.


Long time ago there lived a family of four, there was a father djeṯ, and a mother djeṯ and a grandma djeṯ and a young little boy.

One day they went out camping to the beach.

As they got there, the grandmother and the mother went out hunting for yams. While the father and the boy stayed behind. They were looking after the canoe.

Then the little boy decided to go fishing. He got his spear and his spear thrower and went out. He caught three fishes.

He went back to the camp, and he cooked the fish in the fire, soon the fish were cooked. The father asked the boy, if he could have some, "Son, can you give me some of the fish?"

The son said, "I can't give you this fish it's rotten". And he ate it all up. He didn't give any to his father. Then the father said to his son, "Son, you didn't give me any fish, when I go fishing later in the day, I won't give you any".

Then the father went out fishing on a canoe.

Not long the father came back from fishing, then the boy said, "Here comes father with some fish". When the father came ashore, he lit up the fire and cooked the fish.

When the fish was cooked, he got them out of the fire, and then the boy asked him for some, "Father can you give me some please?" But the father said, "I'm not going to give you any".

Then the little boy started to cry. He cried and cried for a long time, soon feathers started to grow on his body.

Then the boy changed into an eagle, and he started to fly up into the air.

Now, today you can see the eagle flying around.

Earlier books in this series:

Body parts and Products

Ganyu, Gäḏany and Guṉḏa

Ground work for part of the section "Food, Cooking and Fire" of this book comes from the work of Wanymuli 1 and Melanie Wilkinson in 1980. Over 1981/82 many people from Galiwin'ku have further contributed to the information in this booklet and I would like especially to mention Galpagalpa 1 and his wives, the Yolŋu teachers at school, Garriṉba, Warrayak and other friends at the hospital and Gulipawuy.

If you think I have misunderstood any of the words, or if you think there are important words missing, etc., please let me know or write them down in the book itself. Thankyou.

L. de Veer

Dhuwal guḏurrku! Nhäthinya guḏurrkuw buŋgulnydja? 
This is a brolga! What does brolga's ceremony look like?

Dhuwal boṉba'! Nhäthinya boṉbaw' buŋgulnydja? 
This is a butterfly! What does butterfly's ceremony look like?

Dhuwal birrkpirrk! Nhäthinya birrkpirrkku buŋgulnydja? 
This is a plover! What does its plover's look like?

Dhuwal dhuḏuthuḏu! Nhäthinya dhuḏuthuḏuw buŋgulnydja? 
This is a tawny frog mouth! What does tawny frog mouth's ceremony look like?

Dhuwal waŋgany! Nhäthinya waŋganygu buŋgulnydja? 
This is a dog! What does dog's ceremony look like?

Dhuwal marurrumburr! Nhäthinya marurrumburr's buŋgulnydja? 
This is a cat! What does cat's ceremony look like?

Dhuwal wurrpaṉ'! Nhäthinya wurrpaṉ'ku buŋgulnydja? 
This is an emu! What does emu's ceremony look like?

Dhuwal mäṉa'! Nhäthinya mäṉaw' buŋgulnydja? 
This is a shark! What does shark's ceremony look like?

Dhuwal bäru! Nhäthinya bäruw buŋgulnydja? 
This is a crocodile! What does crocodile's ceremony look like?

Dhuwal ŋerrk! Nhäthinya ŋerrkku buŋgulnydja? 
This is a cockatoo! What does cockatoo's ceremony look like?

The articles from this booklet were prepared and provided by the senior girls at Shepherdson College in my English class. They also provided the sketch design.

The typing was done by Helen Rrikawuku. The layout was done by David Gelma and Paul Biyarranydjarrawuy, under the guidance of the Literature Production Manager, Mr Michel Lapointe. The cover was designed by Paul Biyarranydjarrawuy (c) 1980.

Pam Stephenson, our Teacher Linguist, corrected the Yolŋu I gratefully thank all those who participated in the production of this manual.

Acknowledgement is given to the Aboriginal Arts Board for their contribution to this publication.

The 2021 digitisation and reprint has been completed by Margaret Muṯuwili.

Original Story and illustrations by Duṉḏiwuy Wunuŋmurra

© Literacy Resource Development Unit - Yirrkala

Currently no translation available for this text.

Page 5

Dhuwandja walu Wirrpaŋu.
This is the time of the build-up.

Ga maŋandja marrtji mana-manapanmirra ga waṉbana. Ga waluny maranydjalkmirra.
The clouds are getting bigger and getting ready for thunder and rain. This is the time that stingray are being born.

Page 6

Dhiyaŋ watharryu wurrkiy' ŋuli mel lakaram maranydjalkmirra walu, ga yäkuny dhuwal wurrkiny' wärrkarr.
This White flower tells us that stingray hunting season is coming. This flower's name is the Swamp lily.

Ŋamaŋamayunmirra djämaw garawnha: djäma gara.
Getting ready: making the spears

Napurr ŋuli maḻŋ'maram garany retjaŋura guḻunmirriŋura wäŋaŋur. Ga yäkuny dhuwal waḏawaḏa ga man'tjarrnydja nhanŋu yindi, bilkpilk ga ḏoṯurrkthinya.
We find spears in the rain forest near the swamp. This spear tree is called Waḏawaḏa. Its leaf is flat on the bottom and looks like a heart.

Page 7

Ŋunhi nhuma ga ḻarrum garaw, ga maḻŋ'maraŋ dhunupa ga wiyin'.
When looking for a spear, find one that is nice and straight.

Ga gulkthurra ŋoytja ga bukukurr ŋanya garany.
Cut the bottom and the top.

Gäŋun balan wäŋalila.
Take it back to camp.

Page 8

Djäma gurtha rulwaŋdhurra gurthalila bala bathula yurr bilma'pilmaraŋ garany.
Make a fire. Put the spear on the fire and burn the bark, evenly.

Bala märraŋun garany bala dharpalila rulwaŋdhurr bala dhunu-dhunupayaŋun.
Take the spear out of the fire and put it between a forked tree, then start to straighten the spear.

Page 9

Beŋuryiny ŋaṉarrmaraŋun barrwaṉdja bala ganarrthula walulila.
Next, take the bark off the spear. Leave it in the sun to dry.

Page 10

Märraŋ ḻurrkun' djimuku ga djiŋdjiŋ. Ga djiŋdjiŋ dhu garrwi'yurr dhuḏi gara. Beŋuryiny djäma nyumukuṉiny' gurthan ga rulwaŋdhurr dhuḏi djimuku bala gurthalil. Märraŋ djimuku beŋur gurthaŋur waŋga'-waŋgany gorrmur' märraŋ bala djuḏupmaraŋun dhuḏilil garalila.
Get three steel prongs and some copper wire. Use the copper wire to tie up the end of the spear. Make a small fire and put the ends of the prongs in the heat. Get the prongs off the heat and one by one push the heated end into the spear.

Page 11

Ga ŋunhi warrpamnha dhu djimuku ḻirra gärri garalila, rarryurr gapun guyŋarrkuŋun garanhany. Yapmaraŋun djiŋdjiŋdja beŋur djimukuŋurnydja. Ga garrwi'yurra ḏälkuŋ ḻirrany djiŋdjiŋdhu balayi garalil yurr mirithi garrwi'yurr. Ga bulu wutthu'-wutthurr ga bäy ŋayi dhu ḏälthirr mirithirr. Bala ŋurruny ŋanya garany djinbulkuŋun.
When all the prongs are in the spear, pour water on to cool them. Take the copper wire off and round off the edges of the spear shaft tip. Wind the copper wire back onto the spear very tight. Hit the prongs back into the spear until they are in hard. Sharpen the tips of the prongs.

Page 12

Gulkthurr djomula wo dharraŋgulk ga djäma biḏitj gutjparr'yunarawnha garaw.
Cut a branch of the Casuarina Tree (whistling tree) or Stringy Bark to make a spear thrower.

Page 13

Nhe dhu nhämany maranydjalktja märr baṉḏanyŋur. Dharpuŋuny muḻkurr maranydjalknhany dhuḏiŋur. Bili walalaŋ djukurr'nydja djinawa walalaŋgal yaka dharpuŋ djukurr'nydja!
You find stingrays in the shallow water. When you see a stingray, spear it in the head. Their liver is in their back. Avoid spearing them in the liver.

Page 14

Ŋunhi nhe dhu dharpumany gäŋun baṉḏanylila. Wutthurrnydja muḻkurr märr ŋayi dhu yakan djagadjagayun. Ŋayathul nhokal ḻirray yaŋara' maranydjalk. Ga nhokal biḏitjthu ḏimirr yapmaraŋ. Ga burrpurrmaraŋ ḏimirrnydja munhathalil djinawalila.
When you spear it take it to the edge of the water. Hit it on the head so it stops moving. Grab the tip of its tail and hold it in your teeth. Use your spear thrower to get the barb off the tail. Push the barb safely into the sand.

Page 15

Ga nhäŋu dhurrwara ŋunhi buthalak miny'tji ŋunhiyiny djukurr'mirra.
Check the stingray's mouth. If the lips are yellow, then the liver is fat.

Page 16

Gäŋu ga märraŋ wiyin' raki' märr nhe dhu rulwaŋdhun maranydjalk. Djuḏupmaraŋ raki' melkurr ga dhawaṯmaraŋ dhurrwarakurr. Baḏak yan buŋuny bäy nhe dhu dhaŋaŋgum. Bala wäŋalila gäŋu.
Carry a metre of string to tie up the stingray. Put the string through its eye and out through its mouth. Keep hunting until you are happy with your catch. Then take them home.

Page 17

Ŋunhi nhe dhu wäŋany ŋayatham, wiripuŋunydja dhu yolŋuy gurtha djäma ŋäthilmirriyam. Bala gapun rarryun rupa'lila.
When you get home, someone will get the fire ready. Fill a pot with water.

Bala yapmaraŋun rakiny' maranydjalkŋurnydja.
Get all the stingrays off the string.

Page 18

Mitthurra ga märraŋun djukurr'nydja beŋur maranydjalkŋurnydja.
Cut all the livers out of the stingrays.

Bala märraŋun mulkuminydja miny'tji beŋur djukurr'ŋurnydja.
Remove the mulkuminy (the green poison in the liver).

Bala djukurr'nydja rulwaŋdhurr rupa'lila.
Put all the livers into a bowl.

Page 19

Rulwaŋdhurra maranydjalktja rupa'lil bala gurthalila ga bäy ŋayi dhu ga nhära buḻŋuyirr ŋanak.
Put the stingrays into the pot. Boil them on the fire until the meat is soft.

Maḻŋ'maraŋ bala'pala bala rarryurra maranydjalktja bala'palalila.
Find a board or sheet of iron and pour the stingrays onto it. Traditionally, we would cut leaves or paper bark to put on the ground.

Page 20

Galkurr bäy ŋayi dhu maranydjalk guyŋarryirr ḻarrmaraŋun barrwaṉdja bala ŋaṉarrmaraŋun ŋanaktja. Bala rulwaŋdhurr banikinlila.
Wait a little while for the stingrays to cool down, then remove the skin and scrape the meat off. Put the meat into a bowl.

Yuwalktja rom napurruŋ napurr ŋuli gulkthun man'tjarr wo ṉäku bala rulwaŋdhun munathalila.
Traditionally, we would have snapped off leaves or bark then put it on the sand.

Page 21

Ŋunhi nhe dhu dharwar'yundja ŋaṉarrmaranhaŋurnydja, bala banikinlila rulwaŋdhurr, bala ŋomu'ŋumula barrkuwatjkuŋun.
When you have finished scrapping the meat off the stingrays and put it into the bowl, then knead it together.

Page 22

Nhokal goŋdhu märrmay' ŋomu'ŋumul nhakun mapu'.
Using two hands, scoop the meat out and make a meatball.

Bala gapun djalkthurr ŋanakŋur märr ŋayi dhu baṉḏanydhirr ŋanak.
Then squeeze the water out to make the meat dry.

Page 23

Märraŋuny djukurr'nydja bala manapula ŋanaklil maranydjalklila.
Take the liver fat and mix it with the meat.

Ŋomu'ŋumul ga bäy ŋayi dhu warrpam ŋayatham ŋanak.
Mix them until they are one.

Page 24

Ga ŋunhiyi walu gurrupanminyarawnha bala ḻukanharaw maranydjalkkun. Bukmakku yolŋuw ŋunhi walal marrtji gurruṯumirriwnha malaw gurrupanaraw.
It is time to share the stingrays with family and to eat together.

Mmm, marrkapmirr maranydjalk dhäkay!
Mmm, stingrays taste yummy!


A collaboration between Shepherdson College LPC, the staff of the Yalu Marŋgithinyamirr, Gumurr Mathakal Rangers, Diḻak (wise old people) and the land that we live on, Wäŋa. These five elements furnish the synergy and direction for the Learning on Country (LoC) project. 

Photography contributed by Craig Danvers, Yasmin Steel, David Hancock. 

Once there was a man called Ṉamurra'ŋaniŋ. He was from a place called Wotjawuy. One day he went hunting for bandicoot, goanna and wallaby.

Gathul (mangroves) grow on the edge of the sea where their roots grow deep into the mud. Gathul grow in many places around Elcho Island. Many animals live in and around Gathul. Gathul provides food and shelter for many creatures.