“Writing the Australian landscape”, a flyer titles our conference, and adds, “how do we write about our country?” and “how [do] we imagine and understand place”. In Australia, thinking “landscape”, “country” and “place” virtually interchangeable are hallmarks of a migrant society. This is obvious because of the skeleton at our feast, the contrast between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal ways of seeing land. Both can agree that “there’s no place like home”, because “place” here means “a place”, a particular place, home. But non-Aboriginal writing commonly separates “place” and “home”, two centuries ago because that was literally so, now often as proof that Australia is multicultural. I remember Amirah Inglis agreeing that her 1983 book An un-Australian Childhood had a better chance of being published than if she’d had an Australian childhood. “Place” and “home” are far apart in Amirah’s book. Sometimes mind does follow body to a new home, but equally some, born here and not, accept being migrants. This splits us all from the land, making us as likely to equate “country” with “nation” as with “place”. Immigration turns us sideways: the national effort focuses on integrating them with us, rather than us with the land. That’s been broadly so for 225 years now, and it’s why most of us live in cities, whereas most Aborigines don’t, or if they do it’s commonly because a city has come to them. It takes time and memory to convert “landscape” to “a place”, then to “place”, and finally to “country”. We have far to go.

In this journey most non-Aborigines are up to “place”, often with a strong attachment to it. Those distinctive Australian words “bush” and “outback” convey something of this feeling, yet keep a sense of being remote, of indicating places we live with but not in. “Place” is a handily sloppy word: it can be somewhere marginal to us, or where we live, or where we come from here or overseas. I come from Wagga. I wasn’t born there, and I haven’t lived there since 1961, but Wagga’s where I’m from. If people ask where I live I say “Canberra”, or if overseas either “Australia” or “Canberra”, the latter because it’s the national capital and I think, often wrongly, that it might be recognised! To link our flyer’s three key nouns, Wagga is my place because it’s my country, where I learnt to read the landscape - the grey-green Murrumbidgee, grey box shading to pine as you move west, wheat and wool. The bush can do that in a way I suspect cities can’t, but Australia’s urban-rural divide is now so wide that possibly no-one on either side of it can say for certain. Even so, I could swap those nouns around without losing meaning.

First impressions of “a place” are endemic in literature the world over. To write of “a place” as a migrant or visitor is to relate it to your past. Words chance on land or sea and depict it as a painter might, to set a scene or prick an emotion. The writer’s gaze is central, “a place” is a device or an actor, new scenes are measured by old. In non-fiction, where I am, this is most easily seen in narratives of inland travellers, pre-disposed to call the land arid, barren, forbidding: “a place”, but never “place”, and certainly never “country” in its Aboriginal sense. Such men met the inland grimly, yet contrasted it with England. In dune country northwest of Birdsville in 1845, Charles Sturt wrote:

The spinifex was close and matted, and the horses were obliged to lift their feet straight up to avoid its sharp points... the ridges extended northward in parallel lines beyond the range of vision, and appeared as if interminable. To the eastward and westward they succeeded each other like the waves of the sea. The sand was of a deep red colour... [Mr Browne] involuntarily uttered an exclamation of amazement when he first glanced his eye over it. “Good Heavens”, said he, “did ever man see such a country!” [1].

Seeking the unexpected is what explorers do. They journey to discover, to make the unknown known. As a bonus the more unknown they find the more their books sell, especially if they meet menace or trial. Travelling through Surrey or Somerset may be delightful, but tamely familiar. I wonder if Sturt ventured so far into that forbidding desert, as summer crept towards him, because the narrative of his terrible privations would sell? Thomas Mitchell had bumped him out of NSW by then, and he knew about selling, having written two exploring books, both with danger and suffering. Adventure sells: threat and privation overcome as with Sturt or Eyre, or overcoming as with Leichhardt or Burke and Wills.

Yet these men noted a curious fact: in that forbidding country were places of beauty. West of the Darling Sturt came on a beautiful park-like plain covered with grass, having groups of ornamental trees scattered over it... I never saw a more beautiful spot. It was, however, limited in extent, being not more than eight miles in circumference... encircled by a line of gum-trees [2].

This is the language of England. The plain is park-like because it reminds Sturt of English parks. Like a park it is limited in extent, but prettily bounded. It has scattered groups of trees, which in England could only be, as Sturt put it, “ornamental”. And it has grass. Across the inland grass evoked parks. On Eyre Peninsula Edward Eyre “passed through a very pretty grassy and park-like country”, north of Glen Helen Egerton Warburton saw “country... beautiful, with park-like scenery and splendid grass”, in the west Petermanns Ernest Giles noted “a fine piece of open grassy country — a very park-like piece of scenery”, in bleak country north of Lake Eyre JW Lewis met “a plain thickly grassed and studded with fine green gum trees, most park-like in appearance” [3].

How did such parks come about? No-one asked. In migrant writing “a place” has no past, only a future, rich or bleak according to its English utility. For decades this perception dominated Australian writing. Australian history at school, if there was any, meant brave explorers or settlers risking death to tame the unknown. “Battling” and “taming” entered our language, writing tracking life, jarring familiar against unfamiliar. Rarely did writing move beyond the perennial perspective of the outsider. It still doesn’t: the inland is still arid, the Hay plain still monotonous, the Tasmanian southwest still wilderness, landscapes still unique by overseas measure.

That’s not how Aborigines see country. When Browne asked if ever man saw such a country, man did, and woman, and had for at least 20,000 years. Browne could as easily have said “place” as “country” - in fact a white Australian probably would have, but “country” is a word Aborigines have transformed. Far from having no past, or the smack of individuals about it, or merely being land, “country” is communal and spiritual, landscape of the mind. I venture that for Aboriginal people no land is natural; all is cultural. It was made, and is rich in proofs of its making. Every rock, every watercourse, every grassy plain evokes memory and story. Travelling with two senior men near Lake Eyre, Isabel McBryde “was constantly impressed by how different were the landscapes... [we] were observing. Theirs were numinous landscapes of the mind, peopled by beings from an ever-present Dreaming whose actions were marked by the features of the created landscape... a landscape ‘mapped by stories’” [4].

In this way of seeing, nothing can be unmapped by stories, nothing can be wilderness or terra nullius, all must be cared for. “Whatever place we have been in”, William Hovell wrote in 1824, “whether on the top of the highest mountain, or in any of the deepest ravines, we always find evident marks that the natives occasionally resort to them, although there does not appear to be any inducement to visit these secluded places” [5]. He meant any resource inducement. Eyre observed, no part of the country is so utterly worthless, as not to have attractions sufficient occasionally to tempt the wandering savage into its recesses. In the arid, barren, naked plains of the north, with not a shrub to shelter him from the heat, not a stick to burn for his fire (except what he carried with him), the native is found [6].

For its carers the driest corner is as much “country” as the richest park, a spiritual endowment far more important than any economic value migrants might give it. Every place is filled with presences, rights and duties, making people life curators in two senses: bound for life to keep country alive. Some places may not be touched for years, but not for a moment did carers forget them. Sooner or later they patrolled every corner, burning, balancing, refreshing. Land care was the main purpose of life.

This universal understanding was expressed locally. Ted Strehlow well depicted, the overwhelming affection felt by a native for his ancestral territory. Mountains and creeks and springs and water-holes are, to him, not merely interesting or beautiful... [but] the handiwork of ancestors from whom he himself has descended. He sees recorded in the surrounding landscape the ancient story of the lives and the deeds of the immortal beings whom he reveres... The whole countryside is his living, age-old family tree. The story of his own totemic ancestor is to the native the account of his own doings at the beginning of time, at the dim dawn of life, when the world as he knows it now was being shaped and moulded by all-powerful hands. He himself has played a part in that first glorious adventure, a part smaller or greater according to the original rank of the ancestor of whom he is the present reincarnated form... Gurra said to me: “The Ilbalintja soak has been defiled by the hands of the white men... No longer do men pluck up the grass and the weeds and sweep the ground clean around it; no longer do they care for the resting place of Karora... [but] It still holds me fast; and I shall tend it while I can; while I live, I shall love to gaze on this ancient soil [7]. 

As Gurra shows, “country” is not simply observed: it is managed locally by experts. Cycles of life and season change constantly, and a carer’s duty is to shepherd land and creatures safely through. This is unavoidably local, requiring knowledgeable intervention such as control burns, eel or other animal culls, food bans and ceremony. People expected help from ancestors and totems, but help hinged on knowing country. What they knew decided how well they lived, sometimes whether they lived. Eyre illustrated this: Another very great advantage on the part of the natives is, the intimate knowledge they have of every nook and corner of the country they inhabit; does a shower of rain fall, they know the very rock where a little water is most likely to be collected, the very hole where it is the longest retained... Are there heavy dews at night, they know where the longest grass grows, from which they may collect the spangles, and water is sometimes procured thus in very great abundance. Should there be neither rains nor dews, their experience at once points out to them the lowest levels where the gum scrub grows, and where they are sure of getting water from its roots, with the least possible amount of labour that the method admits of, and with the surest prospect of success [8].

“The main technology for the organization of country”, Debbie Rose writes, is and was knowledge. Knowledge is country-specific, and virtually the whole body of knowledge for any given country is related to the generation of life in and around that country. Countries are inter-dependent, so it is not the case that one person’s knowledge is restricted only to one country, or that countries are self-sufficient in their knowledge, but it is the case that each country has its own specificities, the knowledge of which belongs to some people and not to others [9].

Local supremacy never forgot its continental context. “Think global, act local” is an apt maxim for 1788. A mighty intellectual achievement enforced this: a fusion of ecology and religion. The Dreaming is grounded on ecological realities, whatever its social applications. It taught why the world must be maintained; the land taught how. One made land care compulsory, the other made it rewarding. One was spiritual and universal, the other practical and local. In their country people lived the world of the Dreaming, thronged with plants, animals and elements, each in their appointed localities. Here wallaby and wallaby ancestor live, there pituri and pituri ancestor, here avenging fire killed lawbreakers, there rescuing rain broke a drought. Not only obvious features which Europeans name, but every pebble and ripple disclosed both the ecological logic of its existence and the Dreaming’s presence. West of Kununurra Mandi told Bruce Shaw, “My other, blackfeller, name was Munnai (Munniim). My father put that, from the Dream now. He saw the water bubbling, moving all the time while the sun shone on it. In language you called it munniim-munniim: light on quiet water” [10]. Dreaming site and ecological niche alike proved the need and reward in caring for country. 

Totems expressed this. In English “totem” can mean just a badge, but for Aborigines it is a life force stemming from and part of a creator ancestor - the soul a person shares with that ancestor’s plant or animal and its places and ceremonies. An emu man does not have emu as a mere badge: he is emu, of the same soul and the same flesh. He is of its totem, not the reverse, and he must care for emu and its habitat, and they must care for him. A man “born along the track of... the wallaby, might say, when seeing a wallaby, ‘that is me, that wallaby, that is me’”, or, “that is my father” [11]. In March 1854 William Thomas was out with a celebrated Western Port black tracking five other blacks. The tracks had been lost some days at a part of the country where we expected they must pass. We ran down a creek; after going some miles a bear [a koala] made a noise as we passed. The black stopped, and a parley commenced. I stood gazing alternately at the black and the bear. At length my black came to me and said, “Me big one stupid; bear tell me no go you that way.” We immediately crossed the creek, and took a different track. Strange as it may appear, we had not altered our course above one and a half miles before we came upon the tracks of the five blacks, and never lost them after [12].

Almost certainly man and koala were the same totem, the same soul.

Everything has a totem, or Dreaming: people, animals, plants, stars, diseases, wind, fire. Wenten Rubuntja’s totem was from Burt Well north of Alice Springs,

because I was ‘found’ there. I am boss for Mpwere [Maggot] Dreaming. My worship is maggots and witchetties and flies... and itchy grubs - those hairy caterpillars that line up — and those angente [sawfly] grubs that attach themselves in a mass to the river red gum trees. Those trees can’t be cut down or there will be lots of maggots — maggots everywhere [13].

Here at least two totems, tree and grub, are bound to protect river red gums, as of course are others for whom the gums were country - galahs, possums, bees and so on. So totems are locally specific, but not geographically confined - they map the continent. That’s quite a trick. 

To meet life’s variety, people have several totems, I suspect mostly from like country ecologically. So the boundaries of country were permeable. Core territory lay amid zones open according to totem, kin, clan, neighbour, trading partner or occasion. Almost everyone had rights and interests in other countries. At New Norcia (WA), “each family regards one particular district as belonging exclusively to itself, though the use of it is freely shared by nearby friendly families” [14]. Within a family one member might have access rights denied another, yet neighbours came “to each other’s assistance. The tribal boundary may not be crossed over without permission. But if conditions become dry within one tribal area it is customary to offer one’s tribal neighbours a section of country for hunting or a lake on which to fish” [15]. People helped kin fleeing war, initiating children, or tackling big projects like fish and game drives or clean-up fires, and they came hundreds of kilometres for seasonal harvests of bogong, bunya, cycad, eel and their associated ceremonies. In these ways rights to country were spread but like the magic pudding never reduced. 

The right to say who could enter country was the decisive expression of legitimate possession. James Dawson wrote of western Victoria in 1881, “No individual of any neighbouring tribe or family can hunt or walk over the property of another without permission of the head of the family owning the land. A stranger found trespassing can legally be put to death” [16].  Around Bunbury in 1841, each family had a more or less defined area of country belonging to it — a kind of heritage; its rights over such track were respected, and any infringements regarded in the light of trespass. Even if an individual of the same tribe, yet of a different family, had occasion to traverse it, he would only, if obliged at all, take just enough to appease his hunger — e.g., one bird, or one egg, from a nest, leaving the remainder for its rightful owners. And it was wonderful to note how each knew exactly what was on their piece of land; they were never selfish about its products, but during the superabundance of any food plants, game, fish etc., at any particular season would send round for neighbouring families to come and make common property of what Nature had so plentifully supplied them [17]

Eyre wrote,

particular districts... are considered generally as being the property and hunting-grounds of the tribes who frequent them. These districts are again parcelled out among the individual members of the tribe. Every male has some portion of land, of which he can always point out the exact boundaries. These properties are subdivided by a father among his sons during his own lifetime, and descend in almost hereditary succession... Tribes can only come into each other’s districts by permission, or invitation, in which case, strangers or visitors are well treated [18]. 

Neighbours might name a group by its word for “yes” or “no”, the word it used to permit or deny access to country. At least fifteen groups in western NSW and northwest Victoria, at least six in New England, and many others elsewhere were named, presumably by neighbours, from their word for “no”. “Always ask” was and is the rule, strict and universal, even for kin confident of the answer. “Their wars generally originate... in their hunting beyond their limits”, a NSW squatter remarked in 1841 [19], and the Perth settler George Moore observed, among themselves the ground is parcelled out to individuals, and passes by inheritance. The country formerly of Midgegoroo, then of his son Yagan, belongs now of right to two young lads (brothers), and a son of Yagan. Some trespassers went upon this ground, lighted their fires, and chased the wallabies. This was resented by the young lads, and, as it happened, there was a large meeting of natives at the time, a general row commenced, and no less than fifteen were wounded with spears [20]. 

People felt intensely for their country. It was alive. It could talk, listen, suffer, be refreshed, rejoice. They were on it and others were not because they knew it and it knew them. There their spirit stayed, there they expected to die. No other country could ever be that. “Within the boundaries of their own country, as they proudly speak”, James Dredge remarked in 1837, “they feel a degree of security and pleasure they can find nowhere else — here their forefathers lived and roamed and hunted, and here also their ashes rest” [21]. Even as he was dispossessing them, George Robinson, the “Great Conciliator”, confessed, “The natives of VDL are patriots, staunch lovers of their country” [22]. He meant country as nation, but in 1830 he met a man who showed what “country” really was. In northeast Tasmania Mannalargenna led 69 men, women and children, remnants of perhaps 800 people who lived there a generation before. He knew whites killed men and children and stole women, he knew Robinson’s party was seeking his though not why, and he knew soldiers were hunting, for the Black Line, the military cordon bent on capturing every surviving Tasmanian, was under way. He knew too that smoke would betray his band, yet still they fired the land, in the face of death toiling to do what perhaps ten times as many would once have done. Nothing shows so powerfully how crucial land care was, how much country was heart and mind. This was no casual burning. It was a mortal duty, a levy on the souls of brave men and women [23].

“No English words”, Bill Stanner concluded, are good enough to give a sense of the links between an aboriginal group and its homeland. Our word “home”, warm and suggestive though it be, does not match the aboriginal word that may mean “camp”, “hearth”, “country”, “everlasting home”, “totem place”, “life source”, “spirit centre” and much else all in one. Our word “land” is too spare and meagre... The aboriginal would speak of “earth” and use the word in a richly symbolic way to mean his “shoulder” or his “side”... When we took what we call “land” we took what to them meant hearth, home, the source and locus of life, and everlastingness of spirit. At the same time it left each local band bereft of an essential constant that made their plan and code of living intelligible. Particular pieces of territory, each a homeland, formed part of a set of constants without which no affiliation of any person to any other person, no link in the whole network of relationships, no part of the complex structure of social groups any longer had all its co-ordinates... the aborigines faced a kind of vertigo in living. They had no stable base of life; every personal affiliation was lamed; every group structure was put out of kilter; no social network had a point of fixture left [24].

“No English words”, Stanner says. Key Aboriginal words don’t easily translate.

In several Western Desert languages ngurra means a bush shelter, a house, home, country, an extent of country, or ceremony related to these. East of Perth kalla meant “fire;... an individual’s district; a property in land”, and “family” [25]. How rich these lone words make “country”! What migrant can link fire, family, land and home in this way? Does not being able to do so mark a migrant? The modern pidgin word kantri also eludes English. Used loosely it has a spreading use akin to when I move mentally between Wagga and Australia, but properly it describes skin-totem, kin and home.

Words father writing, but of course no-one wrote the landscape. They sang it, commonly as the local section of a songline. A songline or storyline is the path or corridor along which a creator ancestor moved to bring country into being. It is also the way of the ancestor’s totem, the geographical expression of the songs, dances and paintings animating its country, and ecological proof of the unity of things. It narrates country, where and therefore where not to walk on it, and how to behave in it. It warns against crime, folly, disrespect and disorder. It maps with stories.

Songlines are best explained in Ted Strehlow’s Songs of Central Australia, one of the most important and least readable books ever written in Australia, although Strehlow captures brilliantly the poetry of songlines. He quotes this couplet for winnowing nut-grass bulbs:

With lowered heads, those yonder are holding aloft; With heads tilted sideways, those yonder are holding aloft.

With typical economy, this evokes both winnowing ancestors and living women holding coolamons high to shield their eyes from dust, and nut-grass ready for harvest when its seed heads droop and tilt sideways. A native cat ancestor song has these couplets:

The ringneck parrots, in scattered flocks — 
The ringneck parrots are screaming in their upward flight. 
The ringneck parrots are a cloud of wings;
The shell parrots are a cloud of wings.
Let the shell parrots come down to rest —
Let them come down to rest on the ground!
Let the caps fly off the scented blossoms!
Let the blooms descend to the ground in a shower!
The clustering bloodwood blooms are falling down —
The clustering bloodwood blossoms, nipped by birds.
The clustering bloodwood blooms are falling down —
The clustering bloodwood blossoms, one by one.

When bloodwoods blossom, clouds of ringnecks nip the blooms, then shell parrots feed from them on the ground. Native cats hunt in bloodwood country, so the song ensures that even in this detail the proper Dreaming cycle continues and native cat habitat is maintained, reflecting the truth that the universe is made and needs ritual to maintain it [26]. This is not writing, but it is literature. 

Every particle of land, sea and sky has a Dreaming and must lie on a songline, otherwise an ancestor can’t have created it and it can’t exist. Songlines threaded Australia, sometimes over thousands of kilometres. The native cat song went across language boundaries through the Centre to at least Port Augusta. Another song ran from the Kimberley to the Centre, south to Port Augusta, then west to Albany and beyond. A third went from the Kimberley to Uluru to Cairns, though it may have lengthened recently. In 1882 Carl Lumholtz heard the same song in different languages on the Herbert River and 500 miles south at Rockhampton [27]. Without knowing the language people could still recognise a song and its dances, because each had independent “embedded characteristics”: painting design, colour or symbol, and song melody, rhythm or pitch. If only my writing could reach so far! To survive its continental journey each song must in theory be exactly repeated in at least most of these ways, because it came from the Dreaming and its creator ancestor is listening. 

Being conceived or born on a songline decides a person’s key totem, and being taught part of its song legitimates being on the country it describes. People learn their songs, dances and country in minute detail. From far away they can discuss a tree or soak and who is responsible for it. Senior people who learn more song expand their geographical and spiritual knowledge and acquire more rights to responsibilities, including the duty of singing country into life, sometimes beyond their boundaries. In turn a properly sung song’s plains, hills, rocks and waters care for its people and animals. Songlines are places of refuge, of comfort, of communion. They affirm a powerful message: the universe is one; all creation has a duty to maintain it; at the risk of your soul, keep things as they are [28]. 

These things are not past. People still integrate a spiritual and ecological life. Ted Egan’s brilliant lament, Poor feller my country, begins,

Once when I’m young boy
Old man tell me
“Always look after 
This you country. 
You are a river 
You are the sea
You are the rocks, boy,
This you country” [29]

“You sing the country before you burn it”, Dean Yibarbuk says, “In your mind you see the fire, you know where it is going, and you know where it will stop. Only then do you light the fire” [30]. All the National Museum’s Canning Stock Route paintings are about country. Eubena Namptjin’s is called Kinyu is the one that grew me up. Kinyu is a creator ancestor, a story, and a place. These three and Eubena add up to country. In 2011 Broome’s Yawuru people explained:

In our Law, everything comes from Bugarrigarra, the time when the creative ancestors traversed the country, naming the landscape, defining the languages... and setting down our rules and customs... From Bugarrigarra, our country is imbued with a life-force from which all living things arise... It is from the country that our people, our language, our stories and our Law arise...

The people, the land, and the Law are three aspects of the same thing.

We have a duty to look after them all, and looking after one of them means looking after the other two as well [31].

This transforms “land”, “place” and “country” from words about nature to words about culture. Non-Aborigines conventionally think of country as nature, rarely as culture. We do not know the mind as a map of the land and the land as a map of the mind. Country as culture makes fiction non-fiction. It writes itself. So when our flyer asks, “how do we write about our country?” then “how [do] we imagine and understand place”, I wonder if this puts the cart before the horse as migrants say, and I wonder for how long we must continue to write our landscape as outsiders.

1. 7 Sep 1845. C Sturt, Narrative of an Expedition into Central Australia [1849], Adelaide 1965, vol 1, 405-6.

2. Sturt vol 1, 286-7.

3. EJ Eyre, Journals of Expeditions of Discovery into Central Australia... [1845], Adelaide 1964, vol 1, 190; PE Warburton, Journey Across the Western Interior of Australia [1875], Adelaide 1968, 148; E Giles, Australia Twice Traversed [1889], Perth 1995, 176; Journal of Mr Lewis’s Lake Eyre Expedition, 17 Feb 1875, SAPP 19/1876.

4. I McBryde, “Travellers in storied landscapes”, Aboriginal History 24, 2000, 156.

5. 29 Nov 1824. WH Hovell, “Journal kept on the journey from Lake George to Port Phillip, 1824-1825,” JRAHS 7, 1921, 347.

6. Eyre vol 1, 351.

7. TGH Strehlow, Aranda Traditions, Melbourne 1947, 30-31.

8. Eyre vol 2, 247-8.

9. A Rumsey & J Weiner (ed), Emplaced Myth, Honolulu 2001, 107.

10. B Shaw (ed), Countrymen, Canberra 1986, 33-4.

11. M de Graaf, “Nintirringu...”, ms 1984, 34; John Bradley 11 July 2001.

12. TF Bride (ed), Letters from Victorian Pioneers [1898], Melbourne 1983, 426-7.

13. W Rubuntja & J Green, The Town Grew Up Dancing, Alice Springs 2002, 16.

14. EJ Stormon (ed), The Salvado Memoirs, Perth 1977, 130-1.

15. JS Gillen & GN Drewien, A Vegetation Survey of the Kanowna Wetlands, Cooper Creek SA, Adelaide 1993, 16.

16. J Dawson, Australian Aborigines [1881], Canberra 1981, 7.

17. W Roth, “Notes of savage life in the early days of WA settlement”, Proc RS Qld 17, 1903, 50.

18. Eyre vol 2, 297.

19. J Hood, Australia and the East, London 1843, 158.

20. GF Moore unpublished letters, 347, courtesy Jim Cameron.

21. HN Nelson, “The missionaries and the Aborigines in the Port Phillip District”, Historical Studies 45, 1965, 63.

22. I McFarlane, “Aboriginal Society in North West Tasmania: Dispossession and Genocide”, Tas Hist PhD 2002, 43-4.

23. 10 Oct–3 Nov 1830. NJB Plomley, Friendly Mission, Hobart 1966, 245-66, 438-9 ns 44-51.

24. WEH Stanner, After the Dreaming, Sydney 1969, 44-5.

25. GF Moore, A Diary of Ten Years of an Early Settler in Western Australia and Descriptive Vocabulary, London 1884, 39. “Family” from D’Entrecasteaux Bay notice, 17 Apr 2013.

26. TGH Strehlow, Songs of Central Australia, Sydney 1971, 284-6, 666, quoted courtesy Strehlow Research Centre, Alice Springs.

27. C Lumholtz, Among Cannibals [1889], Canberra 1980, 172.

28. B Gammage, The Biggest Estate on Earth, Sydney 2011, 124-6.

29. Words and music Ted Egan, courtesy Ted Egan.

30. Rumsey & Weiner 109.

31. Yawuru RNTBC, Planning for the Future: Yawuru Cultural Management Plan, Broome 2011, 30-1.