Bush University

In the Creation Time Buwarraja, as the Ancestors sang they passed onto the people everything they needed for survival, food or bush tucker, bush medicine, healing, tools, bush hardware, the seasons and the education of the children. Yidumduma calls this the Bush University, deeply embedded in Law and the Creation Story and Song. As a Bush Professor he constantly passes on this knowledge to his grand children as taught to him by his Elders.

Click on Read More & Resources for full video transcripts and further research.


Wardaman Seasons:

Yijilg - Wet season (December to February): This is the Wet season when rain falls daily, often in large amounts. Often travel is restricted due to flooding and the boggy nature of heavy soils on black soil plains.
Wulujujun - end of the Wet season (February to March): This season sees the last of the rains and the end of the Wet season.
Wujerrijin - Dry season (April to September): This is the Dry season when the weather is cold and no rain falls. The skies are generally clear.
Ngurruwun - hot weather time (September to December): This is the hot weather time when the ground becomes very hot to walk on. The first rains begin.


Learn more of seasons for other Aboriginal groups.
Indigenous Weather Project

Walking in: Gornbun-ya Site

Yidumduma teaching his nephew Jonas Doctor in the Bush University as they walk into Gornbunya Whistling Kite Dreaming art site. Here Yidumduma uses Kriol to talk to Jonas, and Wardaman language to talk with the Ancestors as they approach.
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Black Soil Termite Mound: Ngardan
Bush Medicine

Ngardan, the earth mound created by the black soil termite namulu, is great medicine. Eaten straight it helps with arthritis and all your joints. Lying down on a heated mound earth bed covered with straw and a little water to create steam is a wonderful healer for your whole body. The black soil termite carries the healing song and leaves it in the earth mound when he makes it. Jarralu ngarban jarraling........the black soil termite cures the sickness.
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Bush School: Bulgu

Yidumduma's Wardaman Law painting concerning the education of the children. The children from the four camps North, South, East, and West (4 figures one in each corner) are called to the Bush School (central figure) by the 2 Message Sticks (upper right figures) The Bush School is surrounded by the Ceremonial Hair Belt Waliwan. The Message Sticks show the songs used to call the kids (concentric circle figures). The Boomerang Clapsticks used for the songs are shown above the Bush School. The Education consists of the Boys and Girls Law which is stored in the Bones of the Ancestors (far right lower figure). The 3 principal song cycles Gujingga, Wangga, and Bandimi are shown in the far central right figure with 3 concentric circles. A major lesson for the children is the sharing of the water. This is symbolized by the Billabong figure (bottom left of Bush School)  

Emu Apple: Barnarr
Bush Medicine

Marble tree. Owenia vernicosa. The bark of this tree is great for healing cuts and the fruit for healing boils. The fruit is food for the emu, but not good to eat for the people. However eating the emu provides the fruit medicine for the people. In this way the emu and emu apple work together to provide medicine for the people.  Yidumduma identified Petalostigma Pubescens in the Jawoyn Plant & Animals book (p99) also as emu apple.
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Diving for Red Ochre: Liwin

Yidumduma teaches us how to find the beautiful red ochre liwin at the base of Gangawag-ya Moon Dreaming waterhole. The Elders teach the children how to find and collect the sacred ochres for ceremonies that have have been left in place by the Ancestors. Featuring our great friends Mike Keighley, Phil Edgerton and Tio Kurun Warun.
Related links: Red White & Black Ochre
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Camouflage Clay: Gorndon

Yidumduma shares his traditional knowledge on gorndon, camouflage clay. Wardaman people sang in pairs as they rubbed each other all over to take away their human smell for hunting. The clay was also used to make a weapon, lordo, for hunting and for Law business by the boundary watcher Barragbarrag (cormorant) Law Man. The clay was sung and placed in this Gorndon Site in the Creation Time Buwarraja
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Silver Box or Smoke Tree: Yarirra
Bush Medicine

Another in our Bush Medicine series, the beautiful Silver Box or Smoke Tree, Eucalyptus pruinosa, abounds Yidumduma Bill Harney's Wardaman country. It is great bush medicine for the relief of toothache and cuts. It is also home to the budgerigar who lives in the termite hollows of the trees.
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Bloodwood Tree Gum: Dini
Bush Medicine

coming soon