Organized by the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection

Barama and Lany’tjung

There were three ancestral beings: Barama, Lany’tjun and Galparrimun. Barama came from the place called Mulkanayŋu, near Gäṉgaṉ. There he created the Law. He was lying down in that place and he told the other two ancestral beings the Law, and instructed them that Lany’tjun must journey upwards (north) sharing this Law with all the Yirrtja clans and Galparrimun must travel downwards (south) to Bäwaylil sharing this Law with the Yirritja moiety clans.

Barama stayed lying down there, chanting, and then his clan speared him. After, he came out from that place wearing sacred armbands on his upper arm. As he came out, he chanted, “Here I am. Here I am,” and lay on the ground, wearing sacred armbands. With the armbands still attached to his upper arms, he shook vigorously. He called out again, yelling, asking why they had speared him. It could have been one of his sons, Ḻany’tjun, who was staying there taking care of the waters and the land.

When they had speared him, he called out again for the last time. Then he lay down. After, when he got up, he went in the river, into the waters called Mulkanayŋu, chanting, “Here I am.” He chanted to all the different clans as he went into the water waist deep and stepped on the white clay beneath the waters, there at Gäṉgaṉ. Yes, and he hit the water known as Ŋulupam, Djinmirrkmirri and Dhapulmirri there at Gäṉgaṉ. And on his upper arm he wore the sacred armbands as he went into the water. And as he went into water he then transformed into a tree.

This is a story that we have never told. We have only listened to our elders telling the story. My fathers and also my fathers’ fathers told us this story, and now this Law is shared by all the Yirritja clans, telling how Barama called out, identifying himself and his Law. And this is the story we must tell you and this is how it must be told.