Fieldwork photo: My dearest Amala & Bilimbil on the verandah ‘at home’ in camp


A perfectly everyday scene on the verandah of my home in camp – a shelter or dwelling that I shared with between two and fifteen close kin (depending on the season, occasion or day).

Pictured here is my dearest ol’ Amala (M). The dog in the photo is ‘Bilimbil’, who was friend, playmate and fellow buffalo-chaser to my naughty, sooky dog, ‘Bäru’ (lit. ‘crocodile’).

The naughty little cat in the basket is ‘Waramaŋu’. She and her sibling ‘Nyul’nyul’ were the only two cats in camp.

The fibres in Amala’s lap are those harvested from the inner side of the bark of a particular local tree, which are soaked in water and then separated before being spun and entwined into string or, with more effort and process, rope.

The basket that Waramaŋu is occupying was one of my first weaving accomplishments. This particular basket was made using the thick vein-like fibres at the centre of fronds of the coconut leaf. They were wrapped or en-woven in the sharp-edged fibres of Pandanus fronds (stripped, dried and dyed using various local tubers) in this case.

Amala made the rope-like handle of this basket for me, marrkap’-mirri, by entwining a number of different strings (of various thickness) – her own self-harvested and beautifully hand-woven string. Thank you Amala. x


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Filed under Ethnography, Thesis/Yolngu related writing

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