Raypiny Dhawu (Fresh Water Story) by Joy Burruna

Raypiny Dhawu (Fresh Water Story)

All Aboriginal people originate from a spiritual source, fixed in a particular place in their land or the sea. These ‘spiritual reservoirs’ are often in the form of special waterholes made by Wangarr (creative spirits) that were created long ago close to the beginning of time. These creator beings moved across the countryside, shaping the land and implanting in each tract of country, the spiritual life force for the people who were to own it. These creative spirits took many forms and when they gave the land to each group, they also gave songs, dances, ceremony, the associated laws and language.


The creation story for Ganalbingu people took place near the middle section of the Glyde River where it becomes the Goyder River. Their land, Ngaliyindi, sits astride the Arafura Swamp in Central Arnhem Land. Many Ganalbingu artists paint totemic species significant to their clan. These can include baru (crocodile), banda (long necked turtle), buliya (catfish), yalman (waterlilies), gumang (magpie geese), dakawa (fresh water yabby), ratjuk (barramundi), warrnyu (flying fox) and more.