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By Lawrence Mitchell

Papulankutja, Australia

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The story of two men who took the form of goannas, they traveled from Perth across the desert through Blackstone to Docker River.
The two men were powerful magicians. They often punished or killed wrong doers but sometimes went too far and were cruel in the exercise of their powers. To amuse themselves, they sometimes played the tricksters. They usually took the form of goanna but they could turn into other animals as well. At Blackstone, they actually tricked each other when they both changed their appearance at the same time. This is behind the meaning of the name Papulankutja (they couldn’t recognize each other) which is the indigenous name for the Blackstone community. Finally, when they got to Docker River they had become so arrogant that they walked straight into some local men’s business even though they were warned not to by the women. The Docker River men killed them.


goanna men, wati kutjarra, blackstone, papulankutja, indigenous, dot painting, landscape, dreamtime, abstract, bold, colouful