England Banggala

(Australia circa 1925 – Dec 2001)

Gochan Jiny-jirra, Arnhem region
Language group
Burarra, Arnhem region

Wangarra Spirit Being

Not on display
Further information

This devil spirit called wangarra, inhabits the An-ngiliny clan waterhole called Wangarra A-juwana. This is a dense patch of jungle with a network of creeks that is adjoined by the two large billabongs called Boporlinymarr and Birduk Mu-yerrnyjiya.

The painting depicts five wangarra figures and four rocks which lie inside the water at Wangarra A-juwana. Across the centre of the painting is a band which represents a small creek that runs through Wangarra A-juwana. Two of the wangarra spirits share one arm; this represents the water running from the little creeks, flowing out into all corners of the patch of jungle.

On the edge of the water at Wangarra A-juwana stands a huge banyan tree. The wangarra spirits live inside this tree. At times the tree opens up, and the wangarra spirits come out and go down into the water where they lie inside the rocks. The spirits can lure and trap people inside the banyan tree, which is one reason why Wangarra A-juwana is a dangerous place for those who do not have the right authority to go there. Whan Banggala enters this place he calls out to his ancestors to identify himself as a rightful member of the An-nguliny clan, so that he and his companians are protected from the spirits that live there.

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000

Place of origin
Central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
circa 1986
ochre on carved wood
267.0 x 15.0 x 11.0 cm
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Gift of Dr Peter Elliott 1993
Accession number
© England Banggala. Licensed by Copyright Agency