Moody Blue

Tribute to Ms. S. D. Gurruwiwi (7 Jan 1955 - 23 March 2016)


When the storms of life are raging.. stand by me. 


Oh, Moody blue

Tell me am I gettin’ through

I keep hangin’ on

Try to learn the song

But I never do

Oh, Moody blue,

Tell me who I’m talkin’ to

You’re like the night and day

And it’s hard to say

Which one is you.



When the storms of life are raging.. stand by me. 
As I write these words, yapa is flying across her world, flying across the lands.
Gi’kal is quiet and hushed.
Mata Mata is crying.
Birritjimi is lost in dreaming.
 Galiwinku is silent.
The fish are swimming around the rock deep under the ocean near Rainbow Cliffs. Power and knowledge of the mother clan is vibrating from this rock out into the world. A feeling of thank you and affection for her loyal family and mother clan fills the atmosphere.
There is only a breath of air across the islands emanating from the bi`imbi`il wititj. 
It is low tide. The sea is smooth. 
The mud is sticky. 
Wurrguluma is gliding deeply below the waves. At the point, where she loved to sit and fish, he pops his head up to say hello.
Hear her voice gently translating and embelishing her brother’s words. “Marrpan is the green backed turtle and it is known by many names”. Her poetry and sophistication made the Galpu manikay and rom come alive.
‘We will build a yidaki university. It will be revered across the world. It will be funded just like the University of Melbourne or Sydney. It will be the foundation of world peace and healing’.
Where did her graceful magisterial power come from? Monyu? Gracelands? Kormilda? Papa Sheppy’s sermons? the great song men? the sisters’ themselves or just from the great mystery within us all? Of course from the rock. All of the above.
What was carried so easily like a breeze is an enormous weight for another to carry. As this passing generation knows too well, with responsibility comes the discomfort of our sometimes harryingly incompatible worlds. Who now will pick up the load so easily? It is easy to withdraw into one world or the other, or into oblivion. Perhaps you wish you could just go and bury your sorrows? This load is shifting and for a time it does seem too great to carry. 
For a short time a great fire burns controversially and unfairly. But this is simply a reflection that she is no longer here to keep the balance. The deeper the burn the stronger she became and the stronger her family, her children and grand children will become. 
Only now do we fully realise how she walked in that very dangerous place between worlds as a sort of outlaw, free spirit, exemplar and leader - loved by all. 
It is no wonder that the  bapurru cannot be planned smoothly when so many are reflecting, thinking, mourning, grieving and wondering about the future.
Worry not! In ten years, in fifty years, in one hundred years we will start a conversation about her as if it was yesterday or today. She will be remembered. There will be many ceremonies in her honour. There will be speeches. There will be debates. There will be many conversations in which we re-call her laugh and humor. There will be many times we recall her with the greatest of affection. 
The Gary Dhurrkay Academy which she gave her blessing to create will contribute to generations of young Yol\u children not just attending, but loving school  through learning and sport. It will also open up the deep majesty and mystery of Miwatj to the world’s children to unlock the great spirits of this land that has come to be called Australia and restore justice, truth and proper respect to its first peoples across the continent.
The yidaki university will be built. It will be a foundation of world peace and understanding. It will be a place of healing and tranquility. It will be a great platform to lift up the learning and manikay and to show the shapes of dust and dance to the world. It will be a place where old men and women with white hairs are properly respected by young people for their knowledge and experience of life. It will encourage these ‘white hairs’ to throw off their lethargy and to regain their spirit and life and to rigorously pass on what they know. It will be a place where forgiving is encouraged and jealousy and blame are shunned.
There will be a house in your honour at Gi’kal - a place of rest, peace and tranquility.
These things and much more will be done.