Minah : A Poem in Four Parts
Percy Mumbulla, storyteller
Roland Robinson, story collector
HarperCollins Publisher, 1995
5-8yrs, Lower Primary, Primary
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English, Yuin language (S67) (NSW SI56-13)
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- Aboriginal Australians
- Art motifs
- Bilingual books
- New South Wales
- Wallaga Lake (NSW Far S Coast SJ55-04)
- Yuin people (S67) (NSW SI56-13)
‘Minah: A Poem in Four Parts’ recounts a young boy’s stories about his grand-uncle, Uncle Abraham. He greatly admires his elder. ‘Whenever I used to see one of those old fellers going off with a spear for murrung - fish - I'd watch him. I'd run after him. I was only a little feller but I had a sense to follow and learn how to do all those things.’
Each of the four poems offers a traditional learning experience for the boy as Uncle Abraham shares his knowledge of life and culture. The boy prefers the company of his elders because he learns important things about life, for example, how to make a fish-spear, catch fish and send a boomerang ‘whistling like a duck’.
In another story poem, the young boy’s father, Old Jacky, and Uncle Abraham travel together. One evening they set up camp, but sleeping is not possible with the noisy mopokes constantly calling out. Beneath these life experiences are gentle references to the underlying fact that Uncle Abraham is dying yet leaving his knowledge with his young grandson. In the final of the four poem stories, Uncle Abraham passes away.
This is a gentle story of life, death, family and tradition. The storytelling lilt to the language lulls the reader into personally experiencing these stories. There could be no better illustrator than Bronwyn Bancroft to offer the viewer her familiar, strongly coloured artwork that captures a traditional lifestyle. Each artwork covers a double page spread with densely detailed landscapes and people going about their daily lives. The book includes biographical information about all three contributors.
Roland Robinson is a respected storyteller with a special interest in Aboriginal storytellers. He aimed to faithfully transcribe their stories and language. In this book, he includes some of their language. Percy Mumbulla, born at Wallaga Lake, was an elder of the Yuin people from the area near Lack Wallaga, on the south coast of New South Wales. He was known as an influential spiritual and cultural leader and left an enduring legacy of strength, determination, and cultural survival. Bronwyn Bancroft is a descendant of the Djanbun clan of the Bundjalung people. She was born in Tenterfield, New South Wales.
Series: Australian Children's Classics
- Teachers’ Notes at HarperCollins https://hcau-assets.supadu.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/04004445/TG-9780732295325.pdf
- Percy Mumbler (1907-1991), Indigenous Australia, Dictionary of Biography. Entry by Jodie Steward https://ia.anu.edu.au/biography/mumbler-percy-16228
- Portrait of Percy Mumbulla, Wallaga Lake, New South Wales [picture] by John Meredith https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-139583414/view
- Roland Robinson, Poet. Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roland_Robinson_(poet)
- ABC Education. Draw with Bronwyn Bancroft https://education.abc.net.au/home#!/media/1912990/