Posted on 06 October, 2017

Wata Burrmalala – Cyclone Culture

Wata Burrmalala – Cyclone Culture

Burrmalala Rom – Walŋamirri Dhukarr is a documentary-style film that explores, celebrates and strengthens the capacity of Yolŋu to prepare for, survive and recover from the impacts of tropical cyclones - an ongoing meteorological reality of life in Arnhem Land.

This film explores the past, present and future, affirming the strengths of Yolŋu to prepare for and cope with the impacts of cyclones, while uncovering new opportunities for collaboration between Yolŋu communities and mainstream weather-warning and disaster response services.

Tapping into foundational Yolŋu law, ceremony and knowledge around burrmalala (cyclones), this project is driven and owned by the families and communities who contribute their knowledge, stories and experiences to it. Yolŋu from Gupapuyŋu clan have been incredibly generous to share manikay (songlines), buŋgul (ceremony) and dhäwu (story) about burrmalala (cyclone). Burrmalala relates to some very serious and sacred business for Gupapuyŋu and is therefore a very personal subject. However we have been honoured to get many important stories that can be put in the public domain and can help the world understand how Yolŋu relate to this powerful phenomenon.

We have also conducted interviews with Yolŋu from other clans who have stories about the ways that Yolŋu used to prepare for, shelter from and recover after cyclones. At the same time, we have been engaging with the Bureau of Meteorology to tell a meaningful story about the way the balanda (mainstream) world relates to cyclones.

Burrmalalapuy Rom – Walŋamirri Dhukarr is a film that builds the resilience and strength of Yolŋu to prepare for, survive and recover from severe cyclone events.

This project was jointly funded by the Australian and Northern Territory Governments Community Recovery Fund under Category C of the Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

We are excited to launch the film at Ramangiṉiŋ, Miliŋinbi and Galiwin’ku in October in preparation for the upcoming cyclone season, and will be a valuable resource for generations to come.

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