Dreamtime Stories

BUSH FRUIT DREAMING 

A colourful depiction of the nutritious and tasty berries and seed pods available in the countryside after the rain. The waterhole at the centre of the picture is full and fresh, providing the essential moisture for the colourful background of desert flowers and plants which bear the bush fruit.

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HEART OF MY PEOPLE 

This design depicts the land and sea representing two indigenous cultures. The land representing the Aboriginal people and the sea, the Torres Straight Islanders. The connection between these two cultures and their natural environment is essential for their survival. Thus the central heart of the design illustrates both cultures living in harmony with nature.

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BUSH TUCKER TAN

We could jokingly refer to this as an Aboriginal Cook Book. We can see three people sitting at their campfire. The digging sticks and coolamons next to the seated figures confirm that they are female. They are discussing the food sources available in the area. The honey ants, small lizards, snakes and witchetty grubs are shown along with bush fruit. The womens’ footprints wander through the food probably indicating that the food may be collected.

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MANS CEREMONY RED

This design is a derivative of a more complex painting titled “Snake Dreaming”. The story is a ceremonial one so the details are not fully revealed. It is thought to be part of the “coming of age” rites for young men. The full painting is rectangular and is available as a Bulurru Art Panel titled “Man’s Ceremony”.

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ON WALKABOUT WINE 

This very traditional Western Desert work clearly depicts the journey of a young man who leaves his family at the top right corner of the painting and undertakes a long walk in search of a partner. Despite visiting many other tribes and family groups he has still not been successful and makes his own camp, or settles at a new site in the top left hand corner. The white snake at each group would indicate fertility and a closeness to or favourable relationship with the earth. Since the place where our young man has settled also has the snake, we believe the young man’s search will have a happy ending.

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WOMENS CORROBOREE

As the name implies, the Central Desert Work depicts a gathering and celebration of Women. There are two groups of female elders, probably with feasting in progress. We can identify them as women by the digging stick coolamon. In this case the coolamons are full of food, from which we can safely assume some form of celebration is in progress. The other females scattered through the main body of the work do not yet have coolamons to collect and carry food and not all have digging sticks close to them or only have curved sticks. Perhaps at the end of the ceremony, these young girls will be regarded as women. This painting is part of Aboriginal Law and further discussion of query is not appropriate.

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ON WALKABOUT OCHRE

This very traditional Western Desert work clearly depicts the journey of a young man who leaves his family at the top right corner of the painting and undertakes a long walk in search of a partner. Despite visiting many other tribes and family groups he has still not been successful and makes his own camp, or settles at a new site in the top left hand corner. The white snake at each group would indicate fertility and a closeness to or favourable relationship with the earth. Since the place where our young man has settled also has the snake, we believe the young man’s search will have a happy ending.

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BUSH TUCKER BLUE

We could jokingly refer to this as an Aboriginal Cook Book. We can see three people sitting at their campfire. The digging sticks and coolamons next to the seated figures confirm that they are female. They are discussing the food sources available in the area. The honey ants, small lizards, snakes and witchetty grubs are shown along with bush fruit. The womens’ footprints wander through the food probably indicating that the food may be collected.

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ON WALKABOUT BLUE

This very traditional Western Desert work clearly depicts the journey of a young man who leaves his family at the top right corner of the painting and undertakes a long walk in search of a partner. Despite visiting many other tribes and family groups he has still not been successful and makes his own camp, or settles at a new site in the top left hand corner. The white snake at each group would indicate fertility and a closeness to or favourable relationship with the earth. Since the place where our young man has settled also has the snake, we believe the young man’s search will have a happy ending.

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FROM THE BUSH

The story is centred on a waterhole in the spring or early summer. The waterhole is full and all of the life forms in the desert are plentiful. The background features bright colours with the addition of flowers and bush fruit. In other words, a time of plenty. A major feature is the large snake who has laid claim to the waterhole, making it her home and laying her eggs close by. Two visitors to the waterhole, the emu whose prints are in the bottom right of the picture and the human who also came to drink did not leave. Perhaps they were victims of the snake. The wombat who approaches from the top right of the picture sees what is happening and turns away to seek water elsewhere.

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DESERT CAMPS 

By Merryn Apma Daley
In Desert Camps, Merryn uses various circles to represent where her people meet and greet each other.  It is here where families will congregate, do business, live and sit on country, performing dance and ceremony.

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Mens camp fire

By Merryn Apma Daley

Merryn often paints her countrymen who took care of the country for a llong time.  The square symbols used throughout this artwork represent men and the countrymen sitting around the fire in the desert.

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WOMEN GATHERING AT WATERHOLES 

By Merryn Apma Daley

This artwork tells the story of women gathering at waterholes.  As it can be extremely warm in the desert and only rains every so often, after the rain the women will gather to the sacred waterholes. 

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women's business

By Merryn Apma Daley

There are many meanings to this artwork by Merryn.  The artwork can represent a sacred place that is only for women, where no men are allowed.  It may also be used as a birthing place or where women go to simply discuss "Women's Business"

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WOMEN AMONGST THE SPINIFEX ALONG THE TODD RIVER

By Merryn Apma Daley

Spinifex is a type of grass that is seen all around desert country.  This grass has been used for many years by Aboriginal people for multiple purposes including medicinal, as an adhesive, and for ceremony.  Women will often gather the spinifex along the Todd River.

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SONGLINES

By Wendy Pawley

In the Dreamtime Biami sent the Rainbow Serpent to create the dreaming for Kamilaroi Country and along the way formed the spectacular, rugged Nandewar Ranges with the Mountains Ningadhun, Yulludunita, Kaputah, the Namoi Valley and the Kamilaroi Spirits of my ancestors.

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GURAKI - the dolphin

By Wendy Pawley

In the Aboriginal Culture Dolphins are associated with the human spirit, connected through the passing down of Knowledge, Reality and Cultural Practice “The getting of Wisdom”. 

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BELLATA - KANGAROO

By Wendy Pawley

Bellata spirit of the Kangaroo races across the Nandewar Mountains Ningadhun, Yulludunita and Kaputah’s ridges, valleys and onto the plains of Galathera.

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ALKINA MOON

By Wendy Pawley

As Alkina the Moon rose illuminating beams of light lit the night sky, birds frolicked and flew over the majestical Nandewar Mountains Ningadhun, Yulludunita and Kaputah. 

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kamilaroi - MY MOTHER'S country

By Wendy Pawley

In the Dreamtime Biami the almighty creator sent the Rainbow Serpent to create Kamilaroi Country where the spectacular rugged Nandewar Mountains Ningadhun, Yulludunita and Kaputah were formed along with the Namoi Valley. Here the Kamilaroi people camped on the banks of the Namoi River telling stories of how the “Old Spirit Man” in the sky was watching over them and if they looked out into the night sky far past the stars, they would see pulsating circles of beaming light, the eternal cyclical journey of life, death, life. 

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NANDEWAR HUNTING

By Wendy Pawley

The ancient Nandewar’s Mountains Ningadhun, Yulludunita, and Kaputah are situated in the vicinity of the town of Narrabri – Nurraburai Northwest NSW they also encompass the Namoi Valley where Kamilaroi people hunted and gathered food for thousands and thousands of years.

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