Goordbelayinji is a Gija word that describes any place where many have been killed at one time.
The top part of this work depicts a conflict between two different groups of Aboriginal people before Europeans arrived in the East Kimberley.
The central area speaks about Europeans who arrived on a wagon. Because of their white skin and the track they left in the grass Shirley's father's great-grandfather thought they were connected to the rainbow serpent. This is why they killed those white people back then.
The bottom part of the painting depicts the sad, recent, story 'Mistake Creek'. An Aboriginal man from another part of Australia, came to Gija country to work for the Rhatigan family. He fell for some of the married Gija women. They refused his advances so he lied to Mr Rhatigan saying they had killed his cow. Now angry, the Aboriginal man and Rhatigan rode out to the Gija holiday camp – Mistake Creek – and began shooting. Nearly everyone died that day. When they finally uncovered the goon goon it was only kangaroo and echidna inside. The Aboriginal man was killed and Mr Rhatigan was taken to court, but his charges were dropped because he had been tricked by the Aboriginal man.
Courtesy of Warmun Art