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Nicholas Thompson-Wymara, Meun 'Uncle Shorty' Lifu — Gudang Yadhaykenu

NICHOLAS THOMPSON-WYMARRA: This is one of our islands throughout Gudang Yadhaykenu country. This is Possession Island — language name is Thunadha. The monument behind us is when Captain Cook came in, sailed in and planted the Union Jack, the flag.

MEUN 'UNCLE SHORTY' LIFU: He put the flag up here but this not a tip. The tip on the other side. This the island outside. He wrong, he wrong. [laughs]

NICHOLAS THOMPSON-WYMARRA: Welcome to Thunadha, Possession Island. I’d like to acknowledge our Gudang Yadhaykenu elders past and present. Speaking our late old peoples’ tongue, Yalung. Having Uncle Shorty here today is an honour as our senior elder for Gudang Yadhaykenu. Thank you.

MEUN 'UNCLE SHORTY' LIFU: My language is different from the other language. We talk Gudang Yadhaykenu language. We don’t talk Atambaya language, we don’t talk Ankamuthi language. We not talk that. We talk language at school, we get a flogging. If we talk language about anything, they give you flogging. From that time till I left school I never talk language.

NICHOLAS THOMPSON-WYMARRA: Ai waru and ai waru aching — turtle and turtle eggs — is some of our main food source here.

MEUN 'UNCLE SHORTY' LIFU: In our time, we used to row boats from there. Row come up. Looking for turtle, looking for dugong.

NICHOLAS THOMPSON-WYMARRA: We just eat only the green turtles. The female ones. The fully grown ones, not the young ones. This turtle stone in the background here, that’s our story stone for Gudang Yadhaykenu people. This is where we get turtle mating season through here then goes out through Torres Strait Islands, Kuarareg country. Down the east coast, west coast. Part of our ecosystem. Ai waru.

CREDITS: Thank you to Uncle Meun Lifu and Nicholas Thompson for sharing their time and knowledge. Special thanks to Dave Hartwel, Amanda Ewart. Editor Peter O’Donoghue. Produced by Dwayne Wyles, Carmen Pratap. Filmed on Gudang Yadhaykenu country. abc.net.au/thisplace

Produced by the ABC. Financed with the assistance of the National Museum of Australia. Copyright 2019

Watch the Gudang Yadhaykenu on Possession Island video

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