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Gurindji ranger poster project wins NT Natural Resource Management Award

Felicity Meakins, Shape

Date: 15 November 2018

The Gurindji Murnkurrmurnkurru ranger group took out the NT Natural Resource Management Environment & Conservation Award for their innovative poster series in Darwin last night.

The posters provide visually engaging cultural information about birds, fish, bush medicine and bush foods. Photos are accompanied by bilingual texts and QR codes linking to spoken versions of the Gurindji texts.

For example, when you hear a kawulnga (nankeen night heron) calling, you know it is signalling that a dangerous kidney fat man from the north is approaching. Or if a woman starts to eat a manyirrkila (barramundi) and vomits, she knows she's pregnant.

An important aspect of the project has been the intergenerational transmission of crucial Gurindji knowledge and elders are now entrusting the rangers with this knowledge. Each poster project has involved elders and rangers visiting relevant sites on country, listening to stories associated with the area.

Ranger Helma Bernard said her favourite part of the trip was “listening to Paddy Doolak talking about partiki (bush nuts) – how they bust them open to get the nut out and how people use the leaves as a medicine to treat skin sores.”

The project was a part of the Central Land Council ranger program. It was managed by Felicity Meakins and Cassandra Algy at the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language and supported by Penny Smith at Karungkarni Arts. The posters were designed by Maxine Addinsall and are published by Batchelor Press.

(Main image: Helma Bernard cracks open partiki (bush nuts) on Cattle Creek Station Photo by Penny Smith)

Gurindji fish poster


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