Wandjina are ancestral beings, recognisable by their rayed headdresses, large eyes and no mouth. Their images appears painted in ochre in caves throughout Wandjina Country.
The Wandjina people are from the Worrorra, Oomeeda, Oonggarddangoo, Yawjabai, Unggumi, Ngarinyin, Wunambal and Gaambera tribes and language groups.
Wanjina's are found on the coast and inland Kimberley region in sandstone galleries. The Wandjina's can be thought of as gods or spiritual deities. In the dreamtime they created the land and lay down the law for the humans to follow. Certain members of the Wandjina people were tasked with keeping the painted image of the Wandjina's fresh in the sandstone caves and overhangs throughout the Kimberley landscape. These artists would visit these sites periodically and touch up the Wandjina image using ochre. These images survive today, each gallery and image telling a particular story. Few outsiders have the privilege of visiting these ancient rock art sites.
Mambalbada is the boss Wandjina for Mulendom (Prince Regent River area). The famous Kings Cascade waterfall also shares the name Mambalbada in the Worrorra language
Yawjab is the name for the Montgomery Reef area. Here the 7 foot tall Yawjabi tribe lived off the reef, eating a diet of dugong, turtle and fresh fish
He is the big boss Wandjina for Worrorra country.
Garrangaddim is the name for the Horizontal Falls, and refers to the way the water and whirlpools float over like a bird
Wungurr can refer to the place where your father found your child spirit in a dream before you were born
During Lalai (the Dreamtime) when the world was soft, Wandjina and Wungurr created the ridges, valleys, rivers and waterholes
Wandjina created all the landscapes back when the Earth was still soft. With help from the Wungurr animals, they made the rivers, valleys, islands, hills and reefs. After, they returned to their cave, leaving their image on the rock surfaces.
We guide you through this ancient landscape where we, the Worrorra people, have lived for thousands of years. We still keep the ancient cultural practices alive today, as you will learn on your tour, through recounting the events of Lalai (‘dreamtime stories’), our songs and dances, our hunting practices and our law and kinship systems.
There are many different Wandjina- for example, Mumbalbada looks after the Prince Regent River, Manborlorm in the Horizontal Falls area, and near Langgi you’ll find Namarali, who is the big boss Wandjina for all Worrorra people.
Wungurr is the the sacred snake that helped make the landscapes, but Wungurr is also the important animals, and Wungurr can also be the place that is special to you, the place where your dad found your child spirit in a dream before you were born. Wungurr is a connection, it is the persons connection to a place, to a spirit, to each other, and to the cosmos.
Our sharing system, called Wurnan, means we are obligated under law to share with each other. All people belong to one of two skin groups, dictated by birth. The skin groups are called Wodoi and Jungun, named for the two nightjar owlets. Marriage was not allowed within ones own skin group, which kept the bloodlines strong. Through this kinship system we are also related to the animals, the plants, the sun and the moon.