Wirrangul Women: Always Have, Always Will: Eagle Dreaming

Wirrangul Women: Always Have, Always Will: Eagle Dreaming
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons
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Wanda Miller, in voice-over, explains the importance of a rock hole that is the only source of constant or living water in the area, and how it was frequented by tribes from all over the area. Consequently there are many roads leading to the rock hole coming from many different directions. The area is the Eagle Dreaming story, and it is of great significance to the Wirangu people.

Gladys Miller tells us that the Wirangu people are coastal people, living on the coast all their lives. Shots of the coastline, and a humpback whale passing by. The women travelling in a four-wheel drive stop to look at a cave. Gladys tells us that they used to climb in the caves when they were younger. The cave they are looking at has a Dreamtime story about the birth of the Wirangu people. Wirrangul means people from the sky, Gladys says the story goes that the Wirangu people came up from the ground and went up into the sky.

Summary by Romaine Morton

A gentle introduction to the lives and legacy of two elders, the last remaining speakers of the Wirangu language. Doreen and Gladys Miller are greatly respected by the traditional owners of Ceduna and Port Lincoln, and there is an urgency to document their knowledge and wisdom. This documentation is something that is occurring throughout Indigenous communities around the country.

Wirrangul Women: Always Have, Always Will Synopsis

A documentary about elders Doreen and Gladys Miller, the last remaining speakers of the Wirangu language in an area where the dominant remaining Indigenous languages are Kokatha and Pitjantjatjara.

Curator's Notes

A beautiful exposé of two sisters, the last remaining speakers of the Wirangu language. The definition of language death is when there is only one speaker of the language left, and Doreen and Gladys Miller are two elders who, at the time of the making of this documentary were in their 70s and 80s, and are the only two speakers left of Wirangu. To keep the Wirangu language alive they must find a way to pass language and tradition on to the younger generations. The dominant languages spoken in the area is Kokatha and Pitjantjatjara.

The elders reflect on their childhood and the freedom of living off the bush and in the country. Wombat is the bush tucker for the Wirangu people, and this documentary is very much about continuing tradition and revitalising the Wirangu language, through preserving their cultural traditions. The collaboration between the community and the elders to write books and other resources to teach the language to the younger generation results in stories about being in the bush, and hunting wombat. A very inspirational piece.

Notes by Romaine Morton




Executive producer :
Rachel Clements
Series producer:
Barbara Clifford
Director and writer:
Jason Ramp
Doreen Miller, Gladys Miller Wanda Miller and Wyarta Miller