Gapuwiyak Wangarr dhawu


A long time ago the lake at Gapuwiyak was dry and the two brothers Gurrulan and Girgirwa were living in the bush. They were singing song cycles and thinking about a ceremonial pole (Larrakitj) and soon they were ready to go and look for one. They found the log and chopped it, peeling off the bark and scraping the wood to make it smooth. That hollow log is called Djalumbu.

Message sticks were sent out too all the Yirritja clans to come for this Djalumbu ceremony. All the Dhuwa people come too of course to join in the mourning for the deceased.

They heard the sugarbag people from Gangan coming. They said “Listen our grandparents are coming this way”. The sugarbag people were called Malawungay and they were all there for the Djalumbu, mourning with all the other people. After the ceremony was finished the two brothers took the Dlaumbu to the lake and put it there.

They dragged the log to the middle of what is now the lake. They painted this log in yellow ochre and drew fish on it. The fish are called Baritjarr (fresh water eel-tailed catfish) when the painting was finished they looked around for the right kind wood to make shovel-nose spears. They found six pieces of wood and started to carve the spears. They took two of the pieces of wood and shaped them like paddles. They were called Burala (Matjika, the diver duck also known as a Darter) and they spun them around their heads and there was a sound which made the lake grow wider and wider. The brothers watched as the water started to spread and become a lake.

Then they started walking and naming the places around Gapuwiyak. Some of these places are Baraŋaynŋur, Warrkwarrkpuyŋumi, Bapapwuŋumi and Mutuwuyŋumi. They were also naming all the bush food as they went. They were heading towards Burrum looking for sugarbag. The two brothers found the sugarbag at Burrum. They told they told their grandparents “Here is  the  sugarbag its called Birrkuda”. Birrkuda is still there at Burrum and has changed into water.

Their language changed from Dhalawangu to Gupapuyngu, Marrkula, Rinymalpuy, Gudulumirri and this gives rights to both clans, Dhalwangu and Gupapuyngu to come together to share ceremonies.

This painting represents the water surface of the lake.

120 × 60 cm | Cat. no: 17-1012