Thomas 'Tommy' Savage and Michael Solomon — Kuarareg, Gudang Yadhaykenu
THOMAS 'TOMMY' SAVAGE: I’m a Kuarareg descendant from the Kuarareg tribe and also a Gudang Yadhaykenu descendant as well.
The Kuarareg language — so there’s two different names for this island. We call it Tuidin and Bedanug. Bedanug is for the Norwest time, the Norwest monsoon. And Tuidin is for the southeast trade wind time. So there’s two different times for different resources of food. In English they call this Possession Island. I’m not too sure why they called it 'Possession'. Captain Cook probably called it in terms of taking over. Like that’s what it means, taking possession of the eastern coast of the country.
This is one of our main food source island. Bring the family out here, teach them you know different hunting skills and different varieties of edible vegetation. Ubar. Ubar. Mean wongai. It’s a plum. My family group is Kuarareg and Gudang Yadhaykenu, connected by genealogy.
MICHAEL SOLOMON: Here on Possession Island we have all kinds of food source that make us connected to this island. This one we call it’s a bush peanut we call it Yarrakakor in language. Yummy, yummy. Yummy to my tummy.
When I went to school I forgot all the language.But food source I grew up with. I know their language name. We learn the basic names of the thing to keep it going. We got crayfish, in language — kaiar. Turtle, in language — waru. Fish, we call it — wapi.
THOMAS 'TOMMY' SAVAGE: We gather here to collect turtles, fish, turtle eggs, goanna eggs and a great lot of seafood that’s also available. We call mudu shell — pipi shell I think they call it in English. We call it mudu shell.
Just see where the mangroves are, there’s a bit of rock faces there, rock mounds. That’s where you’ll find the bigger oysters. The importance of this island is that the food source it’s plentiful and there’s water. There’s also water here. And it’s also an education thing for the young ones. You teach them there’s different varieties of food source whether it’s seafood or it’s the vegetation.
CREDITS: Thank you to Michael Solomon and Thomas Savage for sharing their time and knowledge. Special thanks to Dave Hartwell, Amanda Ewart. Editor Peter O’Donoghue. Produced by Dwayne Wyles, Carmen Pratap. Filmed on Kuarareg country. abc.net.au/thisplace
Produced by the ABC. Financed with the assistance of the National Museum of Australia. Copyright 2019