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Bilinarra Woman takes Indigenous Story Prize | Indigenous, Ngandiba, Would, Sanford, Pigeon, Hole, Ngayima, Kids | FATSILC, Fed. Aboriginal Torres Strait Island Languages and Culture
Bilinarra Woman takes Indigenous Story Prize PDF Print E-mail

Ivy Hector Nambijna with her children, Tom and Anna
Ivy Hector Nambijna with her children, Tom and Anna
Bilinarra elder Ivy Hector Nambijina took out a $100 cash prize when her work  'Ngayiny Jaru Jarragab (My Story)' won the contemporary story category of the 205 NT Indigenous Languages Story Writing competition.

TOLD in a mix of Bilinarra, Ivy's traditional language, and Kriol, the Aboriginal language widely spoken across the Top End, the writing describes what life was like for Ivy and her family when she was a young woman working at Pigeon Hole cattle station, south-west of Katherine in the Northern Territory.

"It's an amazing story," says Justin Spence, a linguist working with Diwurruwurru-Jaru Aboriginal Corporation (the language centre for the Katherine region), who helped Ivy write the story down and translate it into English.

"It gives a clear picture of what life was like for Indigenous people working on cattle stations at the time.There are so many people who had similar experiences, and it's important for these stories to be heard by a wide audience."

'My Story' describes how Ivy cooked and cleaned for stock men on the station and how her family travelled hundreds of kilometers on foot back and forth between Pigeon Hole and Victoria River Downs station during holidays.

NOW in its second year, the story competition sponsored by the NT Department of Employment, Education and Training contributes to the maintenance of indigenous culture by promoting reading and writing in indigenous languages.

'My Store' will be used as parr of the Indigenous Languages and Culture (ILC) program at Pigeon Hole School this year. DEET considering publishing the story as an illustrated book that will be available to teachers around the Northern Territory.

Here is an excerpt from Ngayiny jaru  Jarragab
"My Story- told by Ivy Hector Nambijina
Transcribed edited, and translated by Justin Spence
and ivy Hector Nambijina.


Garrwarni-rra garu-rna-rnayinangulu ganya-rra jarrwa. Nomo ngayiny garu. but ngayiny-gu sigter-wu garu ngayi-ma najing yet, I bin jidan garu. Nyila-ma ngandiba bin all the time go back. sometimes ngandiba bin all the time get a lift, motika-ngga. Sanford-ngarna motika imin all the time go Sanford-jirri-ma. lmin all the time taken ngandiba lun Nijburru-ngga lmin all the time go Sanford nyandu-ma, manager-ma Sanford-ngarna-ma. Ngayi-ma bin jidan garu-mulung yet Gula-rnayina garrwarni garu-ma ngayi-ma najing yet.

Lurrbu-ma work-gu-rningan. Work-ma-lu yani-rra dimana-yawung-ma. Gula-lu, garrwarni helicopter-ma yet, najing. Musterembat dimana-yawung-gurlu buligi-ma milrlb, nyarrulu-rni. Ngayi-ma bin all the time cooking la olabat, gambarnub-gu,kitchen-da work, helpembat cookie, washem plate everything. Ngandiba bin habem marru-ma wan.gaj yet tin house ngandiba bin habem Nyila-ma today na, nyubala-ma house-ma.

English Translation

We would have a big mob of kids with us. Not my kids but my sister's. Me, I didn't have any kids yet. Sometimes we would get a lifts and go back in a car. The Sanford truck used to go back to Mt Sanford. It would leave us at Pigeon Hole. The manager for Sanford, he was always going co Sanford. I was still without children. I didn't have any kids, yet.

We would go back to work again. They would go to work with horses. They didn't have any helicopters yet. They used to muster the cattle themselves using horses. I was always cooking for them, cooking food, working in the kitchen, helping the cook, washing all the plates. We still had bad houses then, just tin houses. Today, we have new houses now.


Diwurruwurru-jaru Aboriginal Corporation:

Jenny Denton, Linguist.

08 8971 1233

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NT Department of Employment, Education, and Training:

Susan J. Moore,

Competition Coordinator.

08 9335 2506

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