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This explanation comprises a general account that includes mention of 1985.0067.0048, followed by specific reference to 1985.0067.0048.
The Tiger-shark, Bangudja
The shark, bangudja (Galeocerdo cuvier), then an unmarried man, left Woodah Island and travelled to Bada-bada (Chasm Island), where he made his camp. One day he saw two dolphins swimming in the sea and, after a long chase, succeeded in capturing and killing the male. The female, who escaped by entering the ground, later met and joined a group of her own kind living in those waters.
On a high cliff on the south-western corner of Chasm Island is a large red stain which bears a remarkable resemblance to the outlines of a shark. This is the totemic body of bangudja (Pl. 28B, D [neither held by NMA]). There is a hole in the upper face of a nearby cliff, with natural curving lines leading to it (Pl. 28A) where, according to the myth, the female dolphin entered the ground to escape from her enemy, the shark. Her totemic body is now a low rock awash at low tide, just off the eastern end of Chasm Island (Pl. 28C). The shark, bangudja, and his wife (my informant did not know where he was married) left Chasm Island and made a camp about two miles south of Umbakumba, [footnote 86: refers to Fig. 4, a map] which camp, when they left, became a small lake. From there they travelled to the sea, their track becoming the Arua Creek. Not far from the mouth of the Arua Creek are two casuarina trees, marking the camp of the shark and his wife. The pair then travelled across Little Lagoon and, on the northern side, created a small sandy island, Moraraka (Pl. 27 B [1985.0067.0048]), where again casuarina trees indicate their camping place. The shark ancestors continued on their way northward, but the Groote Eylandt aborigines had no further knowledge of their journeyings.
Mapalala madja lili-kuna ungapa-puta
shallow water place go away another name for shark
The song refers to bangudja leaving some unlocalized shallow water-place and continuing on his journey with another shark following.
Plate 27B [1985.0067.0048] represents the low sandy island, Moraraka, in Little Lagoon, near Umbakumba, which was created by bangudja. The central disc is the island; the horizontal arms are the two casuarina trees, the metamorphosed bodies of the shark-man and his wife; and the vertical limbs of the cross, the long sand-bars which reach out into the sea (Mountford, 1956, 82).
Mountford's field note book (copy in National Museum of Australia Library - RSN 100065799) has a few additional details like the name of the casuarina trees and a different way of spelling of bangudja (Ba : n-gudja).
Ochres on bark, In centre of bark is a disk representing an island. Protruding from each side are casuarina trees, and from top and bottom two columns representing sand-bars. Outlined in red, decorated with lines and dots in red, white and yellow. Black background.
L 800mm x W 350mm x H 22mm
Verified by D Kaus 17/10/2012