Freshwater Crocodile

I was born on Old Flora Station, east of Halls Creek at a place called Balnguna. When we were kids we used to walk up Flora Gorge and go swimming. We'd also catch freshwater prawns, fish and turtles. There were a lot of witchetty grubs in that place. Lots of lovely bush tucker everywhere.

In my painting you can see a little child hidden in a cave. The child's mother would leave it there and go hunting for food. That baby is high up in the cave, all safe and sound.

There is a Dreamtime freshwater crocodile living in that place. He went there during the Dreamtime. He's been there a long long time. He comes out in the rain time, when it floods. He's a quiet one. If he sees anyone he will slide down to the water and disappear. But you know that lady? The one that hides her baby up high in the cave? She's a quiet lady and sometimes she sees that crocodile in the early evening when she gets back from hunting and gathering bush foods. I used to see that crocodile too when I was young. You had to be really quiet, couldn't make a big noise. Quiet, quiet.

Sometimes that crocodile gets a wallaby. He catches them in the evening time when they come down to the water to drink. You can see his stomach and insides in my painting.

In the olden days I would watch my father get the wallaby. We would cook the meat. My father would get all the sinew and make string. He would use that string to make artifacts like spears and axes. That string is really strong.

In my painting you can see the bush onions. There's a big mob there. We used to collect and cook them on a fire made with spinifex grass, it was very quick way.

The jigsaw pattern running down the left-hand side of my painting is the long grass that grows along the water. The wind blows it this way and that way, laying it down and making that pattern.

The jigsaw pattern on the top right-hand side is the sharp rocks at the waters-edge, they call it bilgin bilgin.

My country stays in my dreams, I dream about my home and I don't forget about my country.


Courtesy of Yarliyil Art Centre

..Acrylic on canvas
..1200mm x 900mm
Copyright Line
..© Yarliyil Art Centre