Ngalwalngurru 'chameleon dragon'


chameleon dragon Chelosania brunnea

photo ©: Australian Wildlife Conservancy/Andrew Morton

Nawu Warddeken kabirridurrkmirri, birringalkeng mayh nawu karringeybun ngalwalngurru. Yika mak kabirringeybun mak alwalngurru (Kundedjnjenghmi) dja walwalngurru (Kune). Konda kayolyolme Nabangardi Nabordoh ngalekke mayh alwalngurru.

The Warddeken rangers found a chameleon dragon which is called alwalngurru in Bininj Gunwok. This is its name in Kundedjnjenghmi but it is also called walwalngurru in Kune. In this post you can hear Nabangardi Terrah Guymala talking about this lizard which is culturally important for bininj.

But first how to say the name:

Bale karriyime karringeybun? al-wal-ngurru

Nabangardi Terrah kayolyolme alwalngurru-ken:

Nabangardi Terrah talks about the chameleon dragon. Follow the transcript below.


[00:00:05.08] yoh, njamed ngalwalngurru

yes, whatsit, the chameleon dragon

[00:00:09.10] kangeyyo namenge mayh

that's what this animal is called

[00:00:11.08] ngalwangurru, name kukbameng

the chameleon dragon has a light coloured body

[00:00:15.17] yika njamed ka-kurlah...bikahmen bu ngamed kore

and sometimes it can change its skin colour when its on

[00:00:22.21] bale karriyime nameke kurrulk o kuwardde

what is it, when its on a tree or a rock (changes to the colour of the background)

[00:00:25.00] sometime change kayime

sometimes it can change itself

[00:00:25.24] bad nameke ngalwangurru nakka bedberre djang

but the chameleon dragon is a totemic emblem for them

[00:00:29.00] Djordi-ken, kadjangdi kaddum Kodwalewale

the people from the Djordi clan and the sacred site for it is upstream in the Kodwalewale estate

[00:00:33.05] dja Nabelan kunred kayimarnedjangdi

an estate also referred to as Nabelan, that is the place where the sacred site is located

[00:00:38.20] alwalngurru ngalekke

she is the chameleon dragon

[00:00:41.07] djang

a totemic emblem/sacred site

[00:00:41.19] en korrokoni konda ngarridi ngarrinani bu ngarrimwam

long ago when we came here we used to see them all around wherever we went

[00:00:45.24] konda kaberrkdi kore redwakbuni bad bolkkime ngarriyawam

here they were everywhere running around the place but today we had to look hard for one

[00:00:49.12] bad ngarringalkeng wanjh boyen ngarriwam manekke ngamed

but we did find one and recently when we went to what's that place, um

[00:00:54.02] Ngangkan ngarrihyoy Ngurlken ngarridurrkmirri warridj kume ngarringalkeng

we went to Ngangkan, camping out for a few days, and we were working there also and we found one

[00:00:59.23] wanjh kahdi wanjh ngarrinjilngmakminj mane mak nawu birri-bih...

when we found it we felt glad because they

[00:01:02.05] nawu, nawu djang birridjangweleng birrinjilngmakminj bu birrinang

those people who are the owners of this totem, they felt very happy to see it

[00:01:05.12] karra-, karrarrkiddi

still alive and well

[00:01:07.15] bu name kayakmen wanjh njale wurdurd nawu birri-, birri-, birri-bika nawu kabirrimre nanih nawu

but if it was ever to disappear, then the next generation of children who grow up

[00:01:12.03] wurdurd nawu yiman kayime Bulanjngong

those children of the Bulanj subsection

[00:01:14.20] nawu kabindiyawbornan o Ngarridjngong yerre minj

whose fathers are of this clan or maybe all the Ngarridj subsection people, then they would not

[00:01:16.23] kabindimarnemulewan korre nani djang kadberre (ngunkurrmi?) njale djang ngarrkukwakwan

be able to tell those children about that sacred site and that totem, "what totem, we know nothing about it" (they would have to say)

[00:01:20.07] bad manek important to keep them alive, so we can tell story

so that's why it's important to keep them alive, so we can tell its story

Credits: All recordings by Alys Stevens, Biodiversity Conservation Unit, Northern Territory Government.


That is all.

Beware: the following video contains an image of a recently deceased old lady from Kamarrkawarn and should not be shown to Bininj from that community and nearby outstations.