Ŋäthil baman' 1969thu, yothu gan nhinan yäku Minhala. Ŋayi marrtjin rälin mitjinlil nhanŋu gurruṯumirr bäpa ga ŋäṉḏi wiripuŋur wäŋaŋur nhakun yirralkaŋur. Ŋayi gan bäyŋu marrtjin wukirrilil. Ga waŋganymirr waluy ŋayi djälthin ŋayi dhu marrtji wukirrilil. Ga dhuwal nhanŋu dhäwuny….
A long time ago in 1969, there was a girl named Minhala. She came to the mission with her family from another place. She had never been to school. One day she wanted to go to school. This is her story.
Dhuwal ŋarra yäku Minhala. Ŋarra yolŋu yothu ga dhuŋgarraynydja dhiyaŋ ŋarra marrtjin räli wukirrilil 1969thu. Ŋarra yaka marŋgi nhä dhuwal yäku wukirri. Gäthurnydja ŋarra djälthinan marŋgithinyaraw nhä dhuwal wukirri.
My name is Minhala. I am a yolŋu child and I am going to school this year in 1969. I don't know what school is. Today I want to learn what school is.
Galki djaḏaw'yunharay ŋarra ŋuli ŋäma djiḻawurrnha, ŋunhiyiny ŋarraku birayunamirra walu. Djuḏukurr! Djuḏukurr!
Early in the morning, I hear the sound of wild jungle fowl, it telling me it is time to wake up.
Ŋarrany gan ŋatha ḻukan wäŋaŋur bili balanyamirriynydja bäyŋu gan birakpatj ḻukan wukirriŋur. Ŋatha wäŋaŋur manymak mirithirr balanya nhakun djiḻawurr mapu' ga bathanawuy mudhuŋay'. Beŋuryiny ŋarra ŋäkul yindi rirrakay nhakun balanya 'Diŋ! Diŋ!' ga barrarin ŋarra rirrakaywu. "Way! Nhä dhuwal rirrakay yindi?" bitjarr ŋarra yatjurr waŋan. Ŋarraku märi'mirriŋu gitkitthurr bala lakaraŋal ŋarrakal, "Ŋunhiyiny rirrakay wukirrimirra walu! Bondi! Yaka nhe dhu witjarr'yun! Miss Thurlow-yu dhu ŋarrtjuna nhuna!"
I eat breakfast at home because they don't give us breakfast at school. The breakfast at home is very good, bush fowl eggs and toast. Suddenly, I hear a big noise like 'Ding! Ding!' and I'm frightened of the noise. "Hey, what is that big noise?" I shouted. My grandmother laughed and told me, 'That sound is telling us it is school time! Quick! Don't be late! Miss Thurlow will growl at you!"
Ŋunhiyi waluy ŋarrakal ŋäṉḏi'mirriŋuy gäŋal ŋarrany wukirrilila. Bala ŋayi marrtjinan djämalila, wiripuny yolŋu'-yulŋu ga Mr Gullick-'tja. Märram walal dhu nyoka' ga ŋarirri' marthaŋayyu. Ga bäpa'mirriŋu ŋarraku marrtjin munha-warryurr ḻanapuw djaṯ'thunharaw ŋäthiliŋuwuy mutikay. Gäna ŋarra gan nhinan wukirriŋur bala ŋarra warwuyurra ŋäṉḏi'mirriŋuwnha.
My mother takes me to school. Then she went to work with other Yolŋu and Mr Gullick. They are going to get crabs and fish by boat. My father already left very early in the morning to chop Cypress with the tractor. I am alone at school and feeling lonely for my mum.
Dhäŋur ḻupthunhaŋur ŋarraku ḻundu'mirriŋu mala marrtjin ŋarrakal bala bukmakthun napurr girriny nhirrpar wukirripuynha. Bala ŋarra ŋayaŋuny manymakthinan.
After a shower my friends come to me and we go and get our school uniform on. I begin to feel better.
Bala napurr marrtjinan ŋal'yurra garramatlila wukirrilil ga marŋgikunhamirrnydja maṉḏa napurruŋ Guywaŋa ga Miss Thurlow. Bala ŋayiny Guywaŋany waŋan bitjarr "Nhämirr nhuma djamarrkuḻi'?" Napurr waŋan bitjarr "Manymak!" Ga Miss Thurlow waŋan bitjarr "Good morning children." Napurr waŋan "Good morning Miss Thurlow". Bala yurrnha napurr marrtjinany ŋoylilnydja Western-lilnydja dhäwuw ŋänharaw. Ga maṉḏa Mr Davis-thuny ga Guthadjakay'tja lakaraŋal nhaku napurr marrtjin ŋoylil. Yurr bukumirriyanharaw Garraywal.
Then we go upstairs to school and our teachers are Guywaŋa and Miss Thurlow. Guywaŋa said "How are you children?" We said "Good!" Miss Thurlow said, "Good morning children" and we said "Good morning Miss Thurlow. Then we all went under Western Block to listen to a story. Mr Davis and Guthadjaka told us why we came downstairs, it was to give thanks (pray) to Jesus.
Ŋarra ga ŋarraku ḻundu'mirriŋu mala marrtjin buḻ'yunalila. Ga ḻukanany napurr gan Akta-vite-nha yan. Ga bäyŋun wiripuny ŋatha.
I and my friends go to play time. We drink only Activite powder mixed with milk and no other food.
Beŋuryiny napurr marrtjin Preschool-lila wiripuwal marŋgikunhamirrwal yäku Miss Buchanan, Miss Fletcher, Maypilama ga Rranu. Bukmakthu napurr manikaynydja ḏar'ṯaryurr balandakurr ga Yolŋukurr. Ga waŋganydja gan buḻ'yurr biyana yurr marŋgikunhamirr.
Then we go to Preschool with other teachers: Miss Buchanan, Miss Fletcher, Maypilama and Rranu. We sing songs in English and Yolŋu Matha, and one teacher played the piano.
Bala napurr yapmaraŋal wukirripuy girri' mala ga nhirrpar wäŋapuy girri'. Bala marrtjin ŋathalila. Marie Morris-dhu ga wiripuy yolŋu'-yulŋuy gan bathar miyapunu ga gätnipuy ŋatha napurruŋ. Guyumulyu gurrupar djorra' napurruŋgal dhukunbuy. Beŋuryiny ŋarra nhäŋal wuŋili' djorra'ŋur marthaŋaypuy! Bala ŋarra waŋanan bitjarr, "Way! Dhuwal marthaŋay dhapirrk! Yolku dhuwal marthaŋay?" Guyumulyu lakaraŋal dhäwu napurruŋ John Calvert-galaŋawuy ga Jimmy Monkey-puy. Bala napurr ganyim'thunha!
We take off our school uniform and put on our camp clothes. Then we go to lunch. Marie Morris and other Yolŋu cooked turtle stew for us. And we have nice fruit from the garden. Guyumul gave me a piece of paper for my rubbish. I see a picture of a boat on the paper! Then I said, "This boat is great! Whose boat is this?" Guyumul tells us a story about John Calvert and Jimmy Monkey. We are surprised!
Beŋur dämbuy waluy walal djämamirrnydja mala gulyurra. Bala ŋarra raŋilila marrtjin bala nhäŋal ŋarraku ŋäṉḏi'mirriŋuny. Galkurr ŋarra gan wäŋaŋur ŋunhi wanhal guyŋarr gan dhärran guyaw rulwaŋdhunharaw. Beŋuryiny napurr djamarrkuḻi' gan ḻup-ḻup'thurr gapuŋur rapinyŋur yurr Guḻmanŋur.
From midday work and school stopped for everyone in the Mission. I went to the beach and saw my mum. I waited at the building where the big freezers are to put the fish. Us children swam at Guḻman in the fresh water.
Milmitjpany ŋarra roŋiyinan wukirrilila. Napurr gan marŋgithinany Yolŋukurr warrakanku yäkuw ga warrakanku dhurrpaw Valerie Dhaykamaluwal. Wiripu napurr nhäŋal Guymunnha, ŋayi gan marŋgikuŋal ŋaḻapaḻmirriny miyalkkurruwurrunha nhaltjan dhu girri' mala djäma.
In the afternoon (2 o'clock) I went back to school. We learnt about animal tracks and names in Yolŋu Matha with Valerie Dhaykamalu. We also saw Guymun teaching the older girls how to sew dresses.
Ga bäyŋu ŋarra buluny warwuyurr wukirriŋur, bilin ŋarra marŋgin nhä dhuwal wukirri. Manymak mirithirr dhuwal wukirriny.
I am not worried anymore, because now I know what school is. School is very good.