Where's Our Water - Awabakal Version

Page 1

Where’s Our Water? Awabakal Version

Written for Hunter Water by Aboriginal Students from Newcastle High School

Hunter Water would like to respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians and First Peoples of the land on which we operate, the Awabakal, Biripai, Darkinjung, Wonaruah and Worimi peoples. We recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. This artwork, ‘Mariin Kaling - All for Water’, celebrates our shared natural resource of water and Hunter Water’s vision to work together across communities to enhance a love of water and invite all to participate in custodianship of this precious and valuable resource. Hunter Water has collaborated with the Awabakal and Worimi communities to create a story that shares their value of our water with all children of the Lower Hunter.


Hunter Water acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the nation of Awabakal. We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which our story is set. We pay our respects to ancestors and Elders, past, present and emerging. Hunter Water is committed to honouring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, waters and seas and their rich contribution to society. It was in this spirit that Hunter Water, in conjunction with The University of Newcastle and Newcastle High School Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, undertook to tell the story ‘Where’s Our Water?’ We would particularly like to acknowledge the work of the Aboriginal people who worked with these students to produce this book: Paul Myers, Belinda Wright, Saretta Fielding, Deirdre Heitmeyer, and John Lester. 3

A Hunter Water Corporation initiative Endorsed by Muloobinbah Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc. Facilitated by The University of Newcastle Story told by Aboriginal students of Newcastle High School Language provided by Awabakal Community Dictionary - produced by Awarbukarl Cultural Resource Association Inc - 2009 Edition Illustrations and book design by Studio Zed The moral rights of the contributors have been asserted All rights reserved ISBN – 978 0 6488105 06 Printed in Newcastle, Australia Š 2020

We are the students of Newcastle High We are the creators of this story This story is to all This story is like our handprint It’s our legacy To the children of the Hunter Follow this story word for word. - Newcastle High Students


Where’s Our Water? Awabakal Version Written for Hunter Water by Aboriginal students from Newcastle High School Artworks created by Saretta Fielding


All the animals around the Cooquun (Hunter River) have noticed that there is less kokowin (water) to share around.

Werekata (Kookaburra) is very biyarbiliko (curious) and wants to know why there is no kokowin coming down the river to Newcastle.

So he

a pam

ra (river) t

o fi nd tle) Y r u u n T journeys ( u ng hy there is no w r k oko he win fl owing, and ask e up t h

because she can kotelikaane (make sense) of everything and knows what is going on upstream. 7

“Where’s our kokowin?” Werekata asks Yunung.

ll the industries a a t a nd p Yunung replies th eopl and they d , e are using way n i w on’t k o k care too much about it. She knows that the only way to have enough kokowin is for everyone to care for it. “If humans don’t begin to care we will all die!” she cries.


As Werekata and Yunung are talking a great birabaan (sea eagle) lands in front of them. “How can I help?� he asks. Yunung gives Birabaan a quest to find out where the kokowin is going.







a ar


d). n a l i(



au c )a e a kb s (s e a t n a is w o th r ko

r Bi


s t on

acr os s t

e for


h so

ie w

ab a a n is t h e tv an a d has a gre


As Birabaan soars above the suburbs of Newcastle, he spies Ella and Timmy having great fun wasting kokowin. They have been chasing their dog around the backyard with the hose and have walked off leaving the kokowin running.


This makes Birabaan very upset and he flies back to Werekata and Yunung. “If the young ones nokoontibarbiliko (waste) the kokowin now, what will happen when they grow up?� he asks.


On a log nearby, Wonangar (Goanna) has been listening with interest to Werekata, Yunung and Birabaan. He begins to koteliko (work out a plan) in his mind to save the kokowin. Wonangar says to them, “We cannot be cross with the children because they don’t know what they are doing. They do not realise how precious kokowin is.”

“We need to teach them to love kokowin because if they don’t we will all suffer.” 13

“We need them tungkamaliko (to learn) the stories about kokowin and give them ways to save it. That way they can tell their friends and our future will look brighter.” “We need to get all the animals malang (together) and tell them the plan.”

“That’s a great idea!” agree the cast of tinting (crabs) scuttling nearby. “Let’s go and tell all the animals that we need them to come to a meeting to talk about kokowin and educate humans to look after it better.”


When all the animals have gathered, Yunung asks them how they can tunganbiliko (teach) Ella and Timmy how precious kokowin is and that they cannot nokoontibarbiliko it. “I know!” says Yota (Frog). “I can tell them the story of Tiddalik the giant frog.”


e “He w as so reedy that h kept all th kokowin for himself . e g

“Baiame was so cross with him that he turned him into stone because he would not share the kokowin with the other animals. “Tiddalik is out at Wollombi. We can show them a picture of Tiddalik and tell them that the earth will dry up and turn to rock if we don’t start to look after our kokowin.” Yota has many stories belonging to the area, and she loved to share her stories with the other animals. It was exciting to think that they could share these stories with Ella and Timmy. 16

“But will they listen?” asks Birabaan. “Because they need to listen if the plan of saving kokowin is to work.”


“Of course they will listen,” says Kaloyina (Eel), who can always be depended on to be the most optimistic creature of them all. “No, I truly believe that the children will ngimiliko (come to their senses) and realise that they are using far too much kokowin. If we let them know it is getting harder to find kokowin to drink I know they will change their behaviour. I just know it.”


Meanwhile, Ella and Timmy decide to go for a walk down to the river. They see all the animals having a meeting. The animals look up and some of them are frightened of Ella and Timmy. However, Birabaan stops them from running away as he reminds them that the children can help them save the kokowin.


Yunung nudges Yota to wiyeliko (tell) her story about Tiddalik. Soon the children are biyarbiliko about what happens when you use too much kokowin. “Kokowin talokaan (belongs to us) all.” says Yota at the end of her story. “And if we don’t love it and use it wisely the earth will become parched and dry, just like in the story of Tiddalik.”


Ella and Timmy feel very kanumayiko (sad and sorry) that they had been wasting kokowin. Listening to Yota's story about Tiddalik, and nakiliko (seeing) the effect on the earth of communities that do not love and share kokowin has made them want to tungkamaliko warai (find out) about what they can do to change things for the future.

“How can we help?� they both ask.


Werekata pipes up, “You must take quicker showers because that kokowin talokaan all.” Yunung tells them, “If you want to help us, you must ngukiliko tootoong (spread our message) to all your family and friends.” Birabaan says, “Stop using the hose in the yard chasing the dog, because kokowin is precious.” The tinting form a circle around Ella and Timmy and say in unison, “If we all do this together we can save our planet.” 22

Suddenly, it is time to go home. Ella and Timmy start to say goodbye to the animals, making a promise that they will try and use less kokowin and tell others why they need to care for kokowin as well. As they are leaving, Yunung calls out to them, “If we all change a little bit of our behaviour we can save a lot of kokowin. All of us need to take responsibility to care for kokowin all the time.�


Minaring ngiroung-u bulbulako kokowin? What can you do to love our water?



There is no right or wrong way to spell an Aboriginal word. There was no European form of written expression of Aboriginal language prior to 1788. Aboriginal language was oral; therefore interpretation of Aboriginal words can result in differing ways of spelling.

Baato Waterhole

Kotelikaane Make sense of things

Ngimiliko tootoong Spread the message

Baiame God, Creation Spirit

Koteliko Work out a plan

Pamara River

Birabaan Sea Eagle

Malang Bring everyone together

Parai Land

Kaloyina Eel

Nakiliko See

Kanumayiko Feeling sad or sorry

Nakoontibarbiliko Waste

Talokaan Belongs to us or belonging to community

Kokowin Water

Ngarayeliko Listening intently

Korowan Sea

Ngimiliko Coming to one’s senses or realisation


Tinting Crab Tungabbiliko To teach Tungkamiliko To learn

Tungkamiliko warai Find out Werekata Kookaburra Wiyeliko Speak/tell Wonangar Goanna Yota Frog Yunung Turtle

Learning Dispositions Collaborate Malang Belonging Talokaan Creative Ngurakaali Hope and optimism Pital Mindful Yari Wise Nguraki Curiosity Biyarbiliko


The Storytellers

Shikiah-Jayde Hipwell Wanaruah

Grace Antcliff Worimi

Zeke Lombardi Worimi

Penny Lombardi Worimi

Austin Griffin Kamillaroi

Amarni Boswell Ngunnawal

Ashah Lyle Worimi

Chase Muldoon-Baker Gamilaroi

Rikky Usher Worimi

Bailey Coe Wiradjuri


Animal Attributes Curiosity Biyarbiliko

Belonging Talokaan

Hope and optimism Pital

Mindful Yari

Collaborate Malang

Creative Ngurakaali

Learning Tungkamaliko

Wise Nguraki


Our thanks goes out to Belinda Wright, Carl Morgan, Deidre Heitmeyer, Jane Blakeney, Jasmin Fielding, John Hancock, John Lester Karen Keers, Karen Nobes, Kathryn Grushka, Kristy Ratcliffe, Miranda Lawry, Nathan Towney Paul Myers, Rochelle Dooley, Saretta Fielding, and Simone O’Callaghan


Kristy Ratcliffe, Hunter Water’s Education Coordinator and Dr Kathryn Grushka, Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle, have worked closely in collaboration with the many contributors to this project to see the creation of “Where’s our Water?” realised. This book is a result of their passion for education, reconciliation and giving a voice to our region’s children to ensure a sustainable future for the Lower Hunter. The book and illustrations were designed by the students of Newcastle University’s Studio Zed within the School of Creative Industries, University of Newcastle. Thanks to Abbie Carragher, Courtney Birch, Daisy Smartt, Jessica Van Der Linden, and Puck van der Laan This book features artworks done by Wonaruah artist Saretta Fielding: ‘Biraban’ and ‘Mariin Kaling’

Local Aboriginal Land Council


All the animals around the Hunter River have noticed that there is less water to share around. So Werekata calls on his friends to come up with a plan to share the value of water with children and give them ways to save it. How will the animals help Ella and Timmy understand that water is precious and teach them to love our water?

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.