Angurugu, Groote Eylandt Residency


Angurugu and Umbukumbah, Groote Eylandt

June 21 - Aug 1, 1993
Performance July 30, 1993

This residency was devised as a way to show how community arts practices could assist in curtailing antisocial behaviours as well as provide a longer term plan for community development. The information gathered around specific totems came from the extensive work with elders who also went on to paint the giant emblems.

Artists were resident at Angurugu, the main Aboriginal community on Groote Eylandt for seven weeks. The Island has three main communities: Alyangula, (the mining town for Gemco), Angurugu, and Umbakumba (which are both Indigenous communities). Each year the township receives its royalties from the Gemco Mining Company. At this time many people return to the island for their money. It is a time where there is much festivity, but also much anti-social behaviour. It is also a time when petrol sniffing increases. This project was devised as a way to show how community arts practices could assist in curtailing the antisocial behaviours as well as provide a longer term plan for community development. The skills being utilised were dance, visual arts, music, and community arts. Dance and visual arts work very well in this context because of their non-verbal natures, especially in communities where English is not the first language.

Creative Personnel

Tim Newth, David McMicken, Hellen Sky, Zhodi Cummings, John McCormick


150 Youth from the Angurugu Community, Groote Eylandt

The Clan Action Dance included: Morning Star, Seagull, Tiger Shark, East Wind, Brown Snake, Pretty Parrot, Diamond Stingray, Sawfish, Curlew, Shovel Nosed Shark, Dolphin, String, Red Sand, Boat, Blue Parrot Fish, West Wind, Black Crow, Water, Frog, White Breasted Sea Eagle, Night, and Fog.
The Brown Snake slid over the ground.
He looked up and saw the Pretty Parrot,
The Parrot flew over the ocean.
Deep in the Ocean was a Diamond Stingray, looking for something to eat.
Her friend, the Sawfish, looked up.
She saw two Curlews who warned her,
"Watch out, here comes the Shark".

Clans and Totems we worked with

Moiety One:  Dua

Lalara,  Maminjamanja,  Warragwagwa,  Yantarrgna

  • Sawfish: Yukwurrirrinadangwa
  • Brolga *: Dukwururrkwa
  • Stingray *: Yimaduwaya
  • Shovelnose Ray: Yilyanga
  • Curlew: Duwalya
  • Diamond Stingray: Dumandangwa
  • Pretty Parrot, (Red-Winged Parrot) *: Wurruweba
  • King-Brown Snake : Yilerrbenda

Bara,  Jaragba,  Murrungun,  Warrabadalamba

  • Dugong +: Dinungkwulangwa
  • Blue Parrot Fish *: Yanbilgwa
  • West Wind +: Barra Or Inungwara
  • Blue Tongue Lizard +: Yimandakuwapa
  • Black Crow +: Yingwa


  • Sea-Eagle: Yiningakada
  • Night: Marrina
  • Red Flying Fox: Yelyiya
  • Longtom Fish: Marrgurra
  • Fog

Moiety Two:  Yiridja

Mamarika,  Amagula

  • Tiger Shark *: Bankwuja
  • Morning Star *: Barninbirra
  • Sea Gull *: Yirumba
  • East Wind *: Mamarika
  • Sunrise
  • Turtle: Menda

Barabara,  Wurramarrba,  Wanambi,  Durila

  • Dolphin: Dinginjabena
  • Pigeon *: Darrarrukarruka
  • Red Sand *: Mamidangwa (Place Of Red Sand Dingala)
  • Aeroplane *: Erraplana
  • Boat: Dingi
  • String: Merra
  • Money: Money, Ongwanda


  • Chicken Hawk *: Yingaka
  • Rainbow Snake +: Arljas
  • Frog +: Dilaburnda
  • Water *: Argunga

* = Song and Dance  + = Song only

This list was given by Jambana at the Anindilyakwa Lands Council.  As he said, it is not complete by any stretch of the imagination and gives us some idea as to what might be "open" and available.  He also called the dances "camp-fire" dances as opposed to traditional.


Brown’s Mart Community Arts Dance Development Offices: Sarah Calver, David McMicken

[Under Brown's Mart Community Arts – Executive Officer Ken Conway]


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