Wp/nys/Kedalak Worl

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Charrnock (The Milky Way)

Nyinniny yira (Sitting up) in the kedelak worl are boola (many) things. Meeka (The Moon), Jinda (The stars), Djarbalariny Djinda (Falling or shooting stars), Binnar (Comet), the Worl Waitj (Emu in the Sky) and Charrnock (The Milky Way). If noonook djinniny yira, noonar can djinniny them at kedalak. (If you look up you can see them at night).

Boola things in the kedalak worl are associated with Noongar stories. They form part of the creation stories that define the living relationships between all things here in the boodjar (land) and in the worl yira (sky above).

The kedelak worl has many important functions. Navigation by the jinda is important kaartdijin (knowledge) for koorliny (moving) through boodjar wer many contemporary researchers have begun to recognise and examine this kaartdijin for navigation in different seasons.[1] Noel Nannup mentions a story in Heartsick for Country about mo yok culungars (three girl children) who used the jinda to find their way kalla (home) from the New Norcia missions.[2] W in the sky – song line is another example of the use of jinda in navigation. These jinda are important as they were used as indicators to koorliny (travel) throughout the boodjar. Positions of the jinda in the kedelak worl also indicate the changing seasons wer help to identify when it is time to harvest certain mereny (food).[3] The story of the Worl Waitj is an example of using jinda kaartdijin (knowledge of the stars) to understand the seasons wer when it is time to baranginy noorik (collect the eggs).

Nyittiny[edit | edit source]

Noel Nannup shares a creation story called The Carers of Everything that tells of how the kedelak worl was created, the stories of the wirin (spirits) within it and our relationship with them. The story begins in the Nyittiny or “The…cold, near darkness time, long long ago when there was nothing on the earth, it was flat and featureless.”[4] During this time “The sky was a thick dark mass that sat on the ground, there was no wind, and it was freezing cold.”[5] The story follows the wirin of everything wer their journey to become real. Noel tells of how the wirin realised that someone would need to care for everything once they had become real wer in exchange the wirin being cared for would provide their custodians with everything they needed to survive, as long as they promised not to use them until there was nothing left.[6] During this story he tells of how the Wargyl (Rainbow serpent) became real wer with its muscles raised the moordan worl (heavy sky), allowing the rest of the wirin to become real without being crushed, to form the boorn (trees), plants, djert (birds), barna (animals) wer all the elements of the boodjar.[6]

Charrnock Yoka[edit | edit source]

The caring for everything story also tells of how some of the features of the kedelak worl came to be. One story tells us that there was a tall spirit yoka (woman) called Charrnock, also identified by Noel Nannup by the name Jindalee. His story tells that this spirit yoka was part of the gathering to decide who would become the carers of everything wer in his telling she is an inquisitive being who collects the glittering wirin koorlangka (spirit children) that she finds wer puts them into her long djardak jowa (white hair).[6] In some tellings she realises she has been separated from the wirin maaman wer goes to find him[6], while in others she turns to see him following behind ngaarniny (eating) the culungar (children).[7]

In each of these tellings she realises that she was mooych (doing wrong) and that she must return the wirin culungar. The wirin koorlangka she had not stolen then turn themselves into Koolbardi (magpie) and pick the culungar from her jowa. Some of the culungar fall to the boodjar wer are turned to boya (stone).[8] The largest of these boya is Kaata-kitch (Wave rock) and Noel writes that she uses kata-kitch “just like a trampoline” to bounce into the kedelak worl where her jowa forms the Milky Way[9] while “the stars are the children caught in the strands.”[10] When the Charrnock yoka shook her long djardak jowa the children still tangled there were flung into the air and became the jinda. If you go to Lake Joondalup during a full meeka, it is said that you can see her long djardak jowa reflected in the kep (water), which is why it is named Joondalup – place of the long djardak jowa, or the place of the kep that glistens.[11]

Other sources tell that this yoka is a djanak (evil spirit) who collects the wirin culungar to feed to her maaman (man). The video Charrnock woman - animation tells the story this way, although many other details remain the same.

This Charrnock yoka story also informs some of the other features of the kedelak worl as Noel Nannup also tells of the waitj (emu), still wanting to be chosen as the carer of everything wer feeling tricked by the spirit yoka, also jumping up into the kedelak worl to form The Worl Waitj.[12]

Yoggalurrung[edit | edit source]

(Kooldarup, Danakat, The Seven Sisters, Pleiades)

Yoggalurrung from the Hubble space telescope

The kedelak worl is a vast space wer many of its features are visible to all language groups across Australia. Some of its features have alternative stories in different parts of the boodjar (country) while others have similarities or link together to track their path across the boodjar and the kedelak worl.[13] [14]The Yoggalurrung or seven sisters is a songline story right throughout Australia and even within Noongar kaartdijin there are different stories associated with this feature of the kedelak worl.

One story tells of mar-koodjal djook (seven sisters), Kooba (Red Robin), Djidi Djidi (Willie Wagtail), Djilaboort (Mudlark), Kadjinak (Fantail), Djakal-Ngakal (Galah), Waitj (Emu) wer Waalitj (Eagle) whose wirin are yira into the worl after they had gone out to search for their maam (father).[15] Their wirin form the mar-koodjal jinda at kedelak, wer during the kedala (day) they return to boodjar in the form of their baronga (totems). The story tells of moort (family) love wer devotion to each other wer how we must care for the boodjar as the ancestors still live within it.[16]

Sandra Harben tells a story of how a group of yoka from the western desert region came to visit because the Noongar star in the Yorgara Koora had gone missing. The story goes that they were out in the bush doing their ceremonies when they saw that one of the djook jinda, the Noongar jinda, was missing and came down to Noongar boodjar to find out why. They came looking for the lady who has seven sisters and met with a group of Noongar yoka in Badjaling. When they went out on boodjar they found that the boya that aligns with the Noongar jinda on boodjar had been moved by the shire. This boya was an important yoka birthing boya and needed to be put back in its proper position. Mo months later the yoka korl (returned) with boola other yoka to perform the proper ceremonies required to put it back in pace and ensure the Noongar jinda korl to the kedalak worl.[17]

Other stories about these jinda cross over with kaartdijin from different language groups including one that Noel Nannup tells in Heartsick for Country from the Wongi people. He writes that there are only six jinda wer “the seventh is one of the planets, and the planets go the opposite way.” In this story when you observe the kedelak worl you “see the seventh sister getting closer and closer, but then she will go past and continue on her journey. And when that happens, the people will say she has visited her sisters.”[18]

Director of Japingka aboriginal art gallery in Walyalup (Fremantle) Ian Plunkett described a Seven Sisters story of forbidden love in which a maaman of the wrong skin group has fallen in love with one of the mar-koodjal djook. They wort koorl (run away) from him as he chases them all the way across Australia to Boorloo wer when they can go no further a “powerful local spirit takes pity on the sisters and turns them into stars in the heavens.” The maaman however, also turns himself into a jinda wer continues to pursue them across the kedelak worl where they warbiny (play) out their story across the worl each kedelak (night).[19]

Artist Josie Boyle, a Wongi woman from the goldfields area, tells of “how the seven sisters went around and they seeded the earth and they danced the cycles of life on earth. And how they went and stored the harvest in those caves in those sites today.”[20]

The Yoggalurrung story also has associations with the seven hills of Fremantle. The statements of significance for Dwerda Weeardinup (Cantonment Hill) note that “The Seven Sisters dreaming is one of the widest ranging song lines in Australia and extends from the Central Desert to the West coast of Australia.”[21] As part of this story the Waugal created the seven hills which represented a gateway to the wirin of the dead.[22]

Contemporary Representations in Art[edit | edit source]

Artist Toogar Morrison has created a number of contemporary works which represent an understanding of the kedelak worl. His work has been noted for its attempt to represent the entirety of the kedelak worl wer its connections including this painting created for the cosmology gallery in Gingin and this painting created for the horizon gallery at Scitech.

Artist Shane Pickett also created a number of artworks that not only referenced the kedelak worl, but also the way in which its appearance changed with the seasons. Some of his works include Hidden amongst the stars of Bunuroo (Bunuru), Night fall and the Bunaroo (Bunuru) star path wer Playful stars of the Biroc sky (Birak) Shane Pickett artist biography

See also[edit | edit source]

Kedalak Worl (Night Sky), another page on Kedalak Worl

Ngiyan waarnk - References[edit | edit source]

  1. Fuller, R.S., Trudgett, M.M., Norris, R.P., and Anderson, M.G. (2014). Star maps and travelling to ceremonies: the Euahlayi People and their use of the night sky. Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, Vol. 17(2), pp. 149–160, 2014. While not specifically focusing on Noongar knowledge this article is an example in the growing interest in Aboriginal navigation techniques using the kedelak worl.
  2. Nannup, N, 2008, ‘Caring for Everything’ in Heartsick for Country: Stories of Love, Spirit and Creation ed. Sally Morgan et al. Fremantle Press, Fremantle, p.103
  3. Nannup, N, 2008, ‘Caring for Everything’ in Heartsick for Country: Stories of Love, Spirit and Creation ed. Sally Morgan et al. Fremantle Press, Fremantle, p.103. “by looking at the stars you can actually tell what time of the year it is. There is a pattern that the different seasons follow.”
  4. Robertson et al. 2016 ‘Ngalak koora koora djinang (Looking back together): a Nyoongar and scientific collaborative history of ancient Nyoongar boodja’ Australian Aboriginal Studies, Vol.1 p.43
  5. Goldsmith, J 2014 Coamoa, culture and landscape: Documenting, learning and sharing Aboriginal astronomical knowledge in contemporary society, PhD thesis, Curtin University, p.195. Available from: http://www.aboriginalastronomy.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Goldsmith-thesis.pdf [Accessed 10 October 2018]
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Nannup, N 2018 Aboriginal Astronomy lecture, Gravity Discovery Centre, Gingin, October 13th 2018
  7. Nannup, N, 2008, ‘Caring for Everything’ in Heartsick for Country: Stories of Love, Spirit and Creation ed. Sally Morgan et al. Fremantle Press, Fremantle, p.105
  8. Oral History - Sandra Harben 2018
  9. Nannup, N, 2008, ‘Caring for Everything’ in Heartsick for Country: Stories of Love, Spirit and Creation ed. Sally Morgan et al. Fremantle Press, Fremantle, p.106
  10. Charrnock Woman animation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UbXU2aA0kw
  11. Oral History - Sandra Harben 2018
  12. Nannup, N 2018 Aboriginal Astronomy lecture, Gravity Discovery Centre, Gingin, October 13th 2018
  13. Ellis, J (ed) 2006 ‘The Star Sisters’ in The Dreaming of Aboriginal Australia, Kaliarna Productions, Penrith, p.50-51. Collects together a number of dreaming stories from across Australia about this constellation
  14. Nannup, N, 2008, ‘Caring for Everything’ in Heartsick for Country: Stories of Love, Spirit and Creation ed. Sally Morgan et al. Fremantle Press, Fremantle, p.103 “Many different groups across Australia have stories about the seven sisters because it is an important dreaming…certain stars are connected to certain dreaming tracks and stories.”
  15. Collard, L 2009 Djidi Djidi, Wardong, Kulbardi, Walitj and Weith: Nyungar Dream Time Messengers, Westerly Vol 54, No. 2 pp.7-26 Collects a number of creation stories about the birds.
  16. Walley et al. 2013, Mardang Waakarl-ak, Batchelor Press
  17. Oral History - Sandra Harben 2018
  18. Nannup, N, 2008, ‘Caring for Everything’ in Heartsick for Country: Stories of Love, Spirit and Creation ed. Sally Morgan et al. Fremantle Press, Fremantle, p.104
  19. Goldsmith, J 2014 Coamoa, culture and landscape: Documenting, learning and sharing Aboriginal astronomical knowledge in contemporary society, PhD thesis, Curtin University, p.202. Available from: http://www.aboriginalastronomy.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Goldsmith-thesis.pdf [Accessed 10 October 2018]
  20. Ibid p.521
  21. 'Statements of Significance for the Fremantle Area and Registered Aboriginal Sites Cantonment Hill, Rocky Bay and Swan River’ p.25
  22. De Gand 2016 in ‘Statements of Significance for the Fremantle Area and Registered Aboriginal Sites Cantonment Hill, Rocky Bay and Swan River’ p.28