Dhaŋu dhuka (Making the way)

More on the 2016 Mata Mata walk to Cape Wilberforce with thoughts on the Sja'ir Perang Mengkasar, the Rhymed Chronicle of the Macassar War of 1666

On the 16 September 2016 Mrs. P.B. Burarrwanga re-created a walk she had done as a nine year old child with her sisters and family in 1964. The 60 kilometre journey was from Mata Mata to Cape Wilberforce along the shores of the Arafura Sea in North East Arnhem land.

The original walk was a fateful one. At Elizabeth Bay Mrs. Burarrwanga’s father Gatirri died mysteriously and so did two of his brothers. The sisters were rescued by their relatives and were then sent to school at Galiwinku/Elcho Island. All of their lives they had been thinking about that journey, what it meant and what lessons their father had intended for them.

For several years Mrs. Burarrwanga told me that she needed to make the walk to her father’s grave at Elizabeth Bay. In 2016 we were able to re-make the journey with her sisters Doris and Daisy, her son Terence and grand-son Marcus as well as the inimitable Captain Peter Illiya Gurruwiwi who commanded an outboard tinny ferrying tents and belongings from beach to beach. 

The journey became a journey for all of us.

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