Panel Discussion - Songs from the Stations

Monday 01 July 2019
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
In store at Avid Reader Bookshop
Register until 01 July 2019 6:00 PM

This event commences at 6.30pm. Printed tickets are not issued and your booking will be on a door list under your surname.

Chaired by Cheryl Leavy our expert panel of co-authors, Felicity Meakins, Myfany Turpin and photographer Brenda Croft discuss Songs from the Stations.

The Gurindji people of the Northern Territory are perhaps best-known for their walk-off of Wave Hill Station in 1966, protesting against mistreatment by the station managers. The strike would become the first major victory of the Indigenous land rights movement. Many discussions of station life are focused on the harsh treatment of Aboriginal workers.

Songs from the Stations portrays another side of life on Wave Hill Station. Amongst the harsh conditions and decades of mistreatment, an eclectic ceremonial life flourished during the first half of the 20th century. Constant travel between cattle stations by Indigenous workers across north-western and central Australia meant that Wave Hill Station became a cross-road of desert and Top End musical styles. As a result, the Gurindji people learnt songs from the Mudburra who came further east, the Bilinarra from the north, the Nyininy from the west, and the Warlpiri from the south.

This book is the first detailed documentation of wajarra, public songs performed by the Gurindji people in response to contemporary events in their community. Featuring five song sets known as Laka, Mintiwarra, Kamul, Juntara, and Freedom Day, it is an exploration of the cultural exchange between Indigenous communities that was fostered by their involvement in the pastoral industry.

Myfany Turpin is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the University of Sydney who specialises in Central Australian songs and Arandic languages. She has documented much song-poetry of Central Australia, including Antarrengeny Awely: Alyawarr women’s traditional ceremony of Antarrengeny country. She has also documented Kaytetye and co-authored the Kaytetye to English Dictionary, Growing Up Kaytetye: Stories by Tommy Kngwarraye Thompson and A Learner’s Guide to Kaytetye. She currently holds an ARC Future Fellowship to investigate the relationship between words and music in Aboriginal song-poetry.

Felicity Meakins is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the University of Queensland who specialises in the documentation of Indigenous languages in the Victoria River District of the Northern Territory and contact between traditional languages and English. This work has provided a basis for Bilinarra, Gurindji and Malngin Plants and Animals, Bilinarra to English Dictionary, Gurindji to English Dictionary, Yijarni: True Stories from Gurindji Country and Mayarni-kari Yurrk: More Stories from Gurindji Country, as well as numerous linguistic papers.

Brenda L Croft Nangari is from the Gurindji/Malngin/Mudburra peoples of the Northern Territory on her father’s side and Anglo-Australian/German/Irish heritage on her mother’s side. She is an Associate Professor in the ANU College of Art and Design and has been involved in the Indigenous and broader contemporary arts and cultural sectors as an artist, arts administrator, curator, academic and consultant for over three decades. Her work is represented in major public collections in Australia and overseas and private collections. Her current major exhibition ‘Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality’, which is touring nationally, involves working closely with her family and community at Kalkaringi and Daguragu and locations associated with Gurindji Stolen Generations members.

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