Noongar Mambara Bakitj


FISH - Foundation for Indigenous Sustainable Health

Shortlisted – 2012 APA Book Design Awards (Best Designed Children’s Series)

A young man follows a kangaroo track deep into the old people’s country. Along the way he meets some spirit creatures (‘mambara’) who allow him to go on. But after he has hunted down the kangaroo, one mambara is angry and demands a fight (‘bakitj’). All day they fight, until the Noongar discovers he is a magic person and defeats the mambara.

Noongar Mambara Bakitj is inspired by a story Bob Roberts and Freddie Winmer told the American linguist Gerhardt Laves at Albany, Western Australia, around 1931 and has been workshopped in a series of community meetings, which included some of the contemporary family of both Bob Roberts and Freddie Winmer. This story is told in old Noongar, contemporary Noongar and English.

Read more about Mamang, Dwoort Baal Kaat and Yira Boornak Nyininy – the other books in this series.

About the Authors

Kim Scott is a descendant of the Wirlomin Noongar people. The only Indigenous author to win the Miles Franklin Award, he has now won it twice, in 1999 for Benang and in 2011 for That Deadman Dance, which also won the South-east Asia and Pacific Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Kim currently works at Curtin University, as Professor of Writing and also in Curtin’s Centre for Aboriginal Studies and at the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute. Kim Scott’s new novel, Taboo, is published in July 2017 by Picador Australia.

Lomas Roberts was an Elder of the Wirlomin Noongar clan, father, grandfather and uncle to many people and was highly respected for his Noongar cultural knowledge.

His working life included stints as shearer, plant operator, farm labourer and as a boxer he won bouts at state and national levels and was a major drawcard for George Stewart’s boxing troupe.

Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project

 The Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project Incorporated Reference Group comprises family members who are descended from the South West of Western Australia and are interested in publishing and promoting some of the stories from that area.

The Group’s main objective is to reclaim Wirlomin stories and dialect, in support of the maintenance of Noongar language, and to share them with Noongar families and communities as part of a process to claim, control and enhance Wirlomin Noongar cultural heritage.

Inspired by creation stories told to the American linguist Gerhardt Laves at Albany, Western Australia, around 1931 and returned to the Noongar people by his family after his death in the 1980s, the stories in this series - Mamang; Noongar Mambara; Bakitj; Dwoort Baal Kaat; Yira Boornak Nyininy; Ngaawily Nop and Noorn - were workshopped through a series of community meetings involving elders – some of whom told stories to Laves in 1931 – artists, and linguists.

About the Book


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