Karu: Growing up Gurindji

Author(s): Violet Wadrill; Biddy Wavehill; Topsy Dodd; Felicity Meakins

Biography & Memoir

Gurindji country is located in the southern Victoria River in the Northern Territory of Australia. Gurindji people became well known in the 1960s-70s due to their influence on Australian politics and the Indigenous land rights movement. They were instrumental in gaining equal wages for Aboriginal cattle station employees and they were also the first Aboriginal group to recover control of their traditional lands. In Karu: Growing up Gurindji, Gurindji women describe their child-rearing practices. Many Gurindji ways of raising children contrast with non-Indigenous practices because they are deeply embedded in an understanding of country and family connections. This book celebrates children growing up Gurindji, and honours those Gurindji mothers, grandmothers, assistant teachers and health workers who dedicate their lives to making that possible.


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Violet Wadrill is a senior Gurindji and Malngin cultural custodian. She has worked extensively with linguists on the documentation of her language. Violet also paints and she has two works touring nationally as part of the exhibition Still in my Mind. Violet was a finalist in the 2018 National Not-For-Profit Digital Technology Award. 

Biddy Wavehill Yamawurr is a senior Gurindji cultural custodian who has been instrumental in the development of language and visual arts projects. Biddy has created designs for the Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts and Culture Centre (2011) and represented Karungkarni Arts at Megalo Printmaking Studios (2013). Her artworks are touring nationally with Still in my Mind. 

Topsy Dodd Ngarnjal is a senior ceremony woman. Along with Ronnie Wavehill and Dandy Danbayarri, she has worked alongside linguists and musicologists recording classical Gurindji songs. This work has culminated in a book and documentary Wajarra: Songs from the Stations (2018). Topsy also paints and carves artefacts through Karungkarni Arts. 

Felicity Meakins is a Research Fellow at the University of Queensland who specialises in the documentation of Australian Indigenous languages including Gurindji. She co-compiled the Bilinarra, Gurindji and Malngin Plants and Animals (2012) and Gurindji to English Dictionary (2013) with Gurindji elders, and co-edited Yijarni (2016) with Erika Charola.

General Fields

  • : 9781925581836
  • : Spinifex Press
  • : Spinifex Press
  • : July 2019
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Violet Wadrill; Biddy Wavehill; Topsy Dodd; Felicity Meakins
  • : Paperback
  • : 96