Belerrk (Gecko)

Gary has painted belerrk (gecko), kalawan (goanna) and dadbe (king brown snake) which are all creatures that live in the stone country of West Arnhem Land.

“Belerrk” is our name for all geckos, such as the knob tailed gecko we call “boywek”. We see lots of them inside our houses. We see some of them in the stone country in caves where they live, hanging from the roof of the cave.

We have a story about kalawan and dadbe: one day Kalawan was out catching food. Dadbe was on her way home. But she was a long way from home and she was tired, so when she saw Kalawan’s hole, she thought she might stop in there for a rest. When Kalawan came back, she noticed that Dadbe was in there, and she was very afraid. All of her eggs were in there as well, and Dadbe was known to have a taste for Kalawan’s eggs. She ran in, and they ended up fighting outside the hole. Dadbe was stronger than Kalawan in that fight, and Kalawan ran off in defeat. But she went and looked for a special kind of bush food that would make her strong. Having eaten some, she came back. This time she beat Dadbe, and Dadbe slithered away. She had tried to steal Kalawan’s house, but in the end Kalawan had defended it. You can still see today, when Kalawan and Dadbe fight, they are closely matched but Kalawan will always win.