Tjawa Tjawa

Our Culture

Added by PAKAM

Description The Tjawa Tjawa Songline follows a group of women in search of husbands.

The women travel from Roebourne in the Pilbara through to Kiwikurra in the Great Sandy Desert far to the south of Balgo, where they split up, some heading east and some north. When they near Lake Mackay they join a camp of Ngarti women and are brought kangaroo by an old man. They eat some of the meat, including the hook of a spear still buried in the flesh. This makes them feel very strange. They realise that this old man could not have speared the kangaroo himself and that there must be young men somewhere nearby. They look around everywhere right up until the evening. Then they see a young man with his headband lit up by the last rays of the setting sun and they cry with joy. They smash a path through the hill and make love with the men and sleep.

Two senior law men, outraged at the violation of their ceremony ground, spread a fire in which both the men and women are consumed and die, but with special magic the women return to life again and travel underground to Tjawa Tjawa and on via Walkali and Makura to Manga Manga where they are forced underground to return to their home country.

Songline custodian Mark Moora was born at Kiyarr in the Great Sandy Desert of Western Australia. He grew up in Old Balgo (Wirrimanu Community) where he attended the Pallottine Mission School for five years. Mark wanted to record the Tjawa Tjawa songline in order to reconnect his people to their country and hold this story strong for future generations.

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