In the Ngarrangkarni (Dreaming) a man went hunting with his two dogs. The dogs chased after a kangaroo and disappeared. The man turned into a rock and can still be seen high on a hill above Bow River. Both the dogs and kangaroo also turned into rocks.
This painting is of the kangaroo, which is a rock standing up in the middle of Bow River, north of Warmun. The white dots in the centre represent the white chest of the kangaroo.
’He bin look like that now,’ Lena Nyadbi says. ’I bin just think about that mine, how I gotta do ’im.’ Nyadbi has painted the country where the Argyle Diamond Mine now stands, representing her two principal Dreamings; Jimbirlam Ngarrangkarni (Spearhead Dreaming) and Linkirrel Ngarrangkarni (Barramundi Scales Dreaming).
’Linkirrel, Jimbirlam and danya guwuleny [there are trees] and nyirriny [spinifex]. Gilgayi ngalim wumperrayin warnawarnarram. [Women left a spinifex net in the Dreaming]. Get ’im, gundarri [ï¬sh], chuck ’im la top, gilgayi [netting them] all the way right up to that place, chuck ’im [ï¬sh] la bank all the way. They bin get la top place and they bin put ’im there. Leave that nyiyirriny there, poor bugger. They bin leave ’im [the net] there, he bin turn into stone. There la that Argyle now, that’s the way they bin digging ’im right there now, right down. That’s the ngarrgarlem [rock] down that side [on the left]. They bin pull ’im out and they bin take ’im bat them. They got ’im up la hill now. When they bin gilgayi and that stone, that big one that’s the one now that brown one side way and all the jimbirla [spearheads] la top. This Dayiwul la bottom side [Barramundi Dreaming]. He bin have ’im sort of a creek there, limestone creek. Go down, and he bin have ’im spring there for water. They bin dig ’im up, soak water. All the old people where they bin go Devil Devil [spring] way [they would stop and drink here]. Only halfway now, they bin leave that spinifex there, he bin stop like that now. Stone you know? Right across like that. Menkawum [good] that’s where they bin marrmarr la that thing marrmarr for all that ngarrgarleny, wajpala. [white people were greedy for the diamonds]. Yilgurru [No good]. That’s that spinifex now, they bin knock ’em down now poor bugger. He look no good now. I bin just thinking about to make ’im for remembering and all. That’s the little creek bin running down, straight down la that place. Limestone creek.’
The long white shape is the spinifex net made by the three women in the Ngarrangkarni (Dreaming). They travelled up the river placing the net across the water to catch the ï¬sh. Halfway to Gawinji (Cattle Creek) the women stopped and left the net at this place; it turned to stone. This place was destroyed when the Argyle Diamond Mine was ï¬rst cut. The large brown shapes are Ngarrangkarni rocks that were removed and shifted to a place higher up where they remain today.
Nyadbi says there was a creek here and a soak where Gija people used to dig down into the ground for water when other waterholes had dried up. The diamonds mined today are the scales of Dayiwul the barramundi who jumped through the range to escape capture by the three women. She saw the net they had placed in the river and jumped over it. These sites have been destroyed by the pit of the open-cut mine. Nyadbi has made this work to remember this country before the mine and to pass these stories and this history on to her children and grandchildren.
In the Ngarranggarni (Dreaming) three women were chasing Dayiwul (the barramundi). They tried to trap her with spinifex nets. This is a traditional method of fishing where ngirriny (river spinifex) is rolled in the water to form a net. However, Dayiwul was too clever for the women and jumped through the net. When she landed she turned into a range of hills, today called Pitt Range (shown in this painting). The women gave up and walked to a place called Gawinji (Cattle Creek) where they turned into rocks. This is the principal Dreaming for Nyadbi’s country, Thildawun (Lissadell Station).
Jimbirla (spearhead) country is Nyadbi’s father’s traditiona l land. It lies north of Warmun, towards Doon Doon Station. This is sharp, stony country. Gija people used to wrap their feet in paperbark or calico when hunting kangaroos in the hills, to stop the sharp stones from cutting their feet.
Jimbirlam (spearheads) were traditionally made of stone, and later made of glass. Jimbirlam are attached to karlumbuny (spear shafts) using spinifex gum a~d sinew. Nyadbi says that in this country, you can find many different coloured stones that were used to make jimbirlam. In the early days people used to break these stones with a strong stick, to make the spearhead sharp.