Organized by the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection


Djarrakpi is the Maŋgalili saltwater homeland located on the southern shores of Cape Shield. The site centers on a lake; on the eastern side the lake is separated from the sea by high sand dunes and the west side is marked by a long gravel bank. 

Djarrakpi is associated with the songlines of the Yiŋapuŋapu and Milŋuyawuy, the Milky Way, but it was founded by Guwak (Ancestral Koel Cuckoo Bird). Guwak journeyed to Djarrakpi with Marrŋu (Possum ancestor) and Malwiya (Emu ancestor). Wherever they stopped, Guwak roosted on a ganyawu (native cashew tree, Semecarpus australiensis) and instructed Marrŋu to spin lengths of string from its possum fur. This string was used to make ceremonial breast girdles and embellishments for ceremonial objects. Malwiyah dug in the ground with his feet, creating springs of freshwater for his companions. The next day, when Guwak set off for a new destination, he trailed lengths of the possum fur string behind him, which transformed into features of the land. Djarrakpi was the final destination of his journey, his “promised land.”

– Howard Morphy


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Milŋuyawuy | The Milky Way