The Magic Fire at Warlukurlangu : A Dreaming Narrative Belonging to Dolly Daniels Granites Namoijinpa
Dolly Daniels Granites Nampijinpa
Christine Nicholls, editor, Sue Williams, series editor
Children of the Yuendumu Community Education Centre
Working Title Press, 2003
5-8yrs, Lower Primary, Primary, Upper Primary
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- Children as artists
- Parent and child
- Warlpiri people (C15) (NT SF52-04)
- Yuendumu (South Central NT SF52-12)
‘The Magic Fire at Warlulurlangu’ is an important narrative belonging to the Warlpiri people. It demonstrates how deception can lead to tragic consequences. The story also serves to provide an explanation for the features of Warlukurlangu, the land near Yuendumu in the Northern Territory, which is characterised by hundreds of anthills shaped like the flames of a fire.
In this narrative, an old man tricks his sons into believing he is blind, so that they will look after him – hunting, and bringing him food. When the sons learn of their father’s deception, they kill his pet kangaroo, and feed it to him. The father is so enraged at his sons’ actions that he lights a magic fire which ultimately ends in the death of his sons. The flames from this fire remain, in the shape of anthills, to remind the Warlpiri people of what happened.
Accompanying the narrative are brightly coloured illustrations, created by children at Yuendumu Community Centre, in the Northern Territory. The illustrations effectively convey, through colour, pattern and movement, the hunting scenes, and the raging fire which destroys the landscape.
This book could be utilised in a classroom setting to facilitate discussion of the purpose of First Nations people’s traditional narratives and the way in which knowledge is passed from one generation to another, along with art techniques used in the book, ways of telling story, cultural diversity, the importance of fire in the lives of First Nations people, and discussion of other First Nations authors.
Younger children may enjoy acting out scenes from the story or creating their own art based on themes presented in this narrative.
Series: Dreaming narrative
- HarperCollins, Teachers’ Notes. Teachers’ Hub at HarperCollins. https://hcau-assets.supadu.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/13135313/The-Magic-Fire-at-Warlukurlangu.pdf
- Christine Nicholls. Flingers University. Art in Early Childhood. ‘Understanding and Judging Children’s Artworks by the Standard of a Different Procedure: Space, Cognition and the Visual Art of 21st Century Warlpiri and Kuktja School Children.’ https://artinearlychildhood.org/journals/2012/ARTEC_2012_Research_Journal_1_Article_2_Nicolls.pdf
- UTAS. Learning Ideas for Living with Fire. Fire and the Environment: Living with Fire. https://wikis.utas.edu.au/download/attachments/12848060/Living+with+Fire.doc
- Warlukurlangu Artists of Yuendumu (Note: Adults should preview this video before determining its use with young people.) https://warlu.com/about/history/