Yawkyawk (Water Spirit)

Yawkyawk is the Kunwinjku term used for young women but also for female water spirits that have fish tails as shown in this work. Sometimes they are described as ‘mermaids’ who live in trees and water in special places in West Arnhem Land. Yawkyawk start out in a tadpole-like form, as they get older they grow fish tails and spend most of their time in the water but are able to sit on the banks of billabongs. When fully grown they are able to change their tails into legs and walk on land to forage for food. They also change into dragonflies at the end of the wet season, which signifies to the bininj (aboriginal people) the rains have finished. Yawkyawk are said to have namarnkol (barramundi) as pets and that Ngalyod the Rainbow Serpent serves as their protector. These spirits are guardians of sacred waterholes

Bu Yawkyawk ngarriyime nakka nawu daluhdaluk nawu birriyawyak nawu minj birriyawmayinj dja mak ngarriyime yawkyawk djang kahdjangdi kore kubolkwarlahken kunred.yiman kore Koyek ngad darnkih dja bewh djarreh kore nawern yawkyawk djang.Nahni yawkyawk kayolyolme nawu kunburrk bininj dja kundad nakka yiman djenj kunberd.Yawkyawk karredjdjingmang yiman karlkke bu kabirridabbolkmen wanjh kunberd djenj kayimerran kundad bokenh wanjh kabirrini kore kukku kukadjid Yika kabirrire manberrk manme kabirriyawan kabirrimang.Dja bu Kudjewk wanjh djalangkarridjdjalangkarridj kabirriyimerran kandibengdayhke kabirrimulewan mandjew bu ngurdmeng wanjh djenj namarnkol dja nawern mak djenj ngarrimang..