Bringing Old Stories to Life

In late 2016, Guugu Yimidhirr teacher, Lillian Bowen’s, Prep class performed their school play in Guugu Yimidhirr. The story is called Nhininhini, ‘The Groper’.

The school play was enjoyed by all who attended and gave students the chance to celebrate their ancestral language.
This is an extension of the ongoing language programme, being led by language teacher Lillian Bowen, at Hope Vale’s Cape York Academy campus.

The Programme, which is supported by the PLC, has pursued the revitalisation and intergenerational transmission of Guugu Yimidhirr since 2012.

(‘The Groper’)

A long time ago, all the people spoke only one language.

Nhininhini, the groper, swam underground from the sea to Barrow’s Lagoon. Nhininhini swallowed all the people who were dancing there and then swam back out to sea.

Some months later, the groper swam back to the same place and regurgitated the people back out onto the land.

When they came out of Nhininhini’s mouth, all the people spoke different languages.

This is why there are many languages now.

Barrow’s lagoon never dries up, because it is connected to the sea by the channel made by Nhininhini.


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