Wakkewakken (Sugarbag Woman)

The painting depicts a Wakkewakken (Sugarbag or Native Honey Woman) from country east of the Mann River. The plants are manwak, a fruit bush. These Wakkewakken originally lived under a paperbark tree in a creek which has very cold water. This is the same place that Ngalyod (the Rainbow Serpent) sometimes resides. They left their underwater home and moved around the country gathering bush fruit which they placed in their burlbe dilly bags. Wak, the black crow, became angry that they were stealing his country so cut them in half with a stone axe. They then became mankung or sugarbag, the honey of native bees. They also left their imprint as a rock painting in the artist’s Mankung Djang (Sugarbag Dreaming) country. In earlier days when Aboriginal people from this region wanted to ensure that sugar bag would be plentiful each year they would swim in the creek and pull up the water weeds near the base of the paperbark tree where the Wakkewakken resided.

Nawu bim bimbom Wakkewakken kore kunred Mann River. Manbu manme makka manwak. Nahni Wakkewakken kabirriyo kore kundulk mankod kore kukabo kore manbokedjelk. Manbu kukku nahni karohrok yiman Ngalyod kayo kumekke. Bolkbawong wam manberrk yawani manme mangi dahkendongi ngalengarre manme kore bulbbe. Wak nawu black crow wanjh yidduy bu bennang birrihdjirdmangi nuye manme wanjh yidduy mey karramalk bidjorrhdadjkeng wanjh birriyimerranj mankung. Wanjh birridjangkurrmerrinj kore kuwardde mankung djang kabolkngeyo. Bu korroko ni bininj ngad karrikukburlerri birridjareni mankung wanjh birrirey birridjuhmi kore mankabo birridalkdurrkmangi kore mankod kore Wakkewakken wanahwam, bu korroko yimerranj nawu bimbom yolyolmeng.