Adnyamathanha, the people of the rocks - songs, stories and Law

The mountain formed by the male Arkurra or rainbow serpent. It's spoken of in the program as the mountain formed near Copley.

(Image: ABC Radio National - Pic: Liz Thompson)

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ABC Radio National 23 January 2015
Program: Earshot - Producer: Liz Thompson
Sound engineer: Russell Stapleton.

The stunning Northern Flinders Ranges Country belongs to the Adnyamathanha people. 'Adnya' means rock and 'mathana' means people - the Adnyamathana people are ‘the people of the rocks’.

Adnyamathanha songs, stories and Law are all part of the Yuramuda. This program is about the journey of one of the major Adnyamathanha Creation Ancestors, Yulu the Kingfisher Man. Yulu’s Coal, explores the travels of Yulu as he moved across Country, followed by two Arkurra , Giant Rainbow Serpents and why the coal mined at Leigh Creek Coal Mine today belongs, from an Adnyamathanha perspective, to Yulu, the Kingfisher Man.

In this audio report, we will move through Country with Senior Cultural Custodians learning about important features of the landscape brought into existence by these Ancestral Beings and why there are deep implications for the digging of Yulu’s Coal or Muda (Dreaming) from the ground.

Performance of Yulu's coal - From left to right, Arthur Brady, Noel Wilton and Brodie Wilton putting on a performance of Yulu's Coal at Leigh Creek Area School

(Image: ABC Radio National - Pic: Liz Thompson)


Liz thanks Senior Adnyamathanha Cultural Custodian Cliff Coulthard who was deeply involved in all aspects of production of this program. Thanks also to cultural custodians Vince, Linda and Mick Coulthard and Gladys Wilton for their contributions and to Senior Adnyamathanha Custodian and linguist Terrence Coulthard for his invaluable contributions. Thanks go to Mick Coulthard and Noel Wilton for reading the story in language, Arthur Brady for his English language version, to Anne Marie Taranto and Nigel Carney, The Chapel, and Terry Fuchs and staff at Alinta Energy.

'Amazing Grace' was sung in Adnyamathanha by Aunty Lily Neville and recorded at Umeewarra Radio Station. Additional sound elements by Nathan May and Doug Petherick at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music at the University of Adelaide.

The Yulu’s Coal song was performed by Terrence Coulthard and written by Terrence and Cliff Coulthard and Buck McKenzie.
The Welcome Song was performed by Terrence Coulthard and written by Uncle Leo Coulthard, Auntie Shirley Coulthard, Josephine Coulthard and Terrence Coulthard for the Adnyamathanha Women's choir in 1997.

Original recordings by Taz Miller and Liz Thompson, assisted by Gavin Spokes.

Further Information
Umeewarra Radio
South Australia’s only Aboriginal Radio Station
Iga Warta Aboriginal Corporation
Sharing Stories on Facebook
SharingStories and the Adnyamathanha Community at the Children’s Come Out Festival
Liz Thompson and SharingStories Foundation are collaborating with the Adnyamathanha community as part of the Children's Come Out Festival at the Adelaide Festival in an event to take place in the Festival Theatre Foyer 22nd-29th May
Sharing Our Stories
If you’d like to follow SharingStories Foundation on Facebook and learn more about Yulu’s Coal and other projects undertaken by the foundation
Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music (CASM) at the University of Adelaide
Specialist Australian Indigenous music centre located within the Elder Conservatorium of Music at the University of Adelaide