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Megan Cope
Quandamooka

Weelam Ngalut (Our Place)
2018 

site-specific installation (in progress), Monash University, Clayton campus

Weelam Ngalut (Our Place) in Woiwurrung Language, the language of the first peoples belonging to the Kulin Nation, we give gratitude and pay respects to ancestors of the past and leaders, who walk to the future with knowledge of time and country.

Weelam Ngalut

Weelam Ngalut yura gurrangnam Monashja ngumbi ganaba balgagu
Maguydanjin gana walarr yari
Goorijin yada Australiajajen yarabinba
Koorijin goorijin murrijin Wikbarra
Ngaliyaba jagi jarala gagam
Ngali walarrili
Ngali ganili
Ngali yanili
Ganaba jagijin marumba mangargen balgagu

Yada ngali walarr
Ngali gadal mangargen ngayiga
Bambaran ngali bagandigu Weelam yigi Tarnuk
Weelam ngumbijen goori
Gahwalingu gana marumba, galuhma gurumba bajara ngumbijin
Weelam ngumbijen choongai gari
ngumbi jarlo bibanunga jabiyilinya balgagu
Tarnuk dabiyil dadaguga nagam ngumbila
yagabiliny gundin mangarla gurumba baje
bural gabiriyi gabalany jarlo marajen
Tarnuk ngayiga mil yagajen jagijinla goorijin bage.

- Jandai walgurr – Jandai language text by Sandra Delaney

Weelam Ngalut – Translation notes

Weelam Ngalut yura gurrangnam Monashja[1] ngumbi[2] ganaba[3] balgagu
Weelam Ngalut welcomes people to come to the camp of Monash, the place of understanding and knowing

Maguydanjin gana walarr yari [4]
To learn, understand, speak and share stories [5]

Goorijin yada Australiajajen yarabinba
Of the First Peoples of the Australian east coast country [place of the sea][6]

Koorijin Goorijin,[7] Murrijin, Wikbarra
Koories,Goories, Murri's and Wik peoples

Ngaliyaba jagi jarala gagam
Our place and our tribal[8] spirit is in the land here

Ngali walarrili[9]
Talk with us

Ngali ganili[10]
Learn with us

Ngali yanili[11]
Walk with us

Ganaba jagijin marumba mangargen balgagu
To the place of understanding – to the good spirits of the sacred old gum tree, come

Yada ngali walarr
First we speak [talk]

Ngali gadal mangargen ngayiga
We see the leaves of the sacred gum tree

Bambaran ngali bagandigu Weelam yigi Tarnuk
On the path that brings us to Weelam also Tarnuk

Weelam ngumbijen goori
The weelam is a form of Aboriginal architecture

Gahwalingu gana marumba, galuhma gurumba bajara ngumbijin
think about the good of long time ago, long ago (before) big footprint and camps

Weelam ngumbijen choongai gari
weelam gives shelter from the westerly wind

ngumbi jarlo bibanunga jabiyilinya balgagu
and a place to come to have fire for warmth and eating

Tarnuk dabiyil dadaguga[12] nagam ngumbila
Tarnuk is a permanent water vessel for the home

yagabiliny gundin[13] mangarla gurumba baje
made from the gnarl of a big old gum tree

bural gabiriyi gabalany jarlo marajen
cut out of an empty log and burnt out by hand

Tarnuk ngayiga mil yagajen jagijinla goorijin bage.
Look at the Tarnuk and the eye sees the work of the spirit of our ancestors.


Weelam Ngalut (Our Place)

Weelam Ngalut (Our Place) welcomes students and visitors of Monash University to learn and speak languages of the First Peoples of Australian east coast – Koories, Goories, Murri's and Wik peoples.

Weelam Ngalut (Our Place) marks our presence in the land here.

Talk with us, learn with us and walk with us to a place of knowledge, a place of sharing culture and a place for learning.

First we learn to speak, then we see the leaves of the trees in the path which guide us to the Weelam and the Tarnuk*. The Weelam is a form of Aboriginal architecture and reminds us of humbleness and the time before big buildings. It provides shelter from the wind and a place to have fire for warmth and cooking. The Tarnuk is a permanent water vessel for the home made from a gnarl in a big old tree, hollowed and burnt out by hand.

Look closely at the Tarnuk, you can see the work of the ancestors.

- Megan Cope

*Works in progress


Sandra Delaney is a proud Noonuccal, Ngugi and Goenpul woman from the Quandamooka area, south-east Queensland. Jandai is the language spoken on Quandamooka country and is a dialect of the Yugerra language. As a child, Sandra grew up speaking certain words of her traditional language, as did most other members of the community. Now she is a passionate advocate for revitalising language and making it part of everyday life. Sandra has worked on a number of language revitalisation projects, including language workshops and, more recently, the publication of cultural and language resources. Sandra feels privileged to be able to support language retrieval in whatever way she can – with local families, community and organisations and in the workplace.

Megan Cope is a Quandamooka woman, from North Stradbroke Island in South East Queensland. Her site-specific sculptural installations, video work and paintings investigate issues relating to identity, the environment and mapping practices. Cope's work interrogates and resists prescribed notions of Aboriginality and often employs psychogeography to challenge the grand narrative of 'Australia', as well as concepts of time and relationships to country in a settler colonial state. She has exhibited widely throughout Australia; her work was recently featured in the major national exhibitions Defying Empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial, National Gallery of Australia, 2017, The National, Art Gallery of NSW, 2017, and Sovereignty, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 2016. Cope is a member of Aboriginal art collective proppaNOW.

This project has been assisted by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.