(Australia  – )

Bayini, Men and Women of Port Bradshaw

Other titles:
Baijini, men and women of Port Bradshaw
Not on display
Further information

The Bajini party, which in one myth, consisted of two men, two women and their children, came from a country to the north, called Jumaina, They sailed into Port Bradshaw and anchored at the mouth of a creek flowing into the south side of the harbour. As soon as they had established camp, the Baijini started to collect, cook and dry the trepang. The men, whom at first the Aboriginal people looked upon as dangerous, always carried a long knife, badi.

One day however, two Aboriginal people, who had sneaked through the mangroves to have a look at the boat and its occupants, saw several small Baijini boys gathering cockles on the beach. The men, intrigued with the light colour of the boys’ skin, crept closer to get a better view, when the boys, catching sight of the Aboriginal people, beckoned them across. The Baijini children, equally puzzled about the dark colour of the aboriginal men, felt them all over, and asked many questions, but neither group could understand the other. The Baijini children then took the Aboriginal people by the hand, led them to a patch of jungle, and motioned them to sit down, telling their parents what had happened. Two Baijini men returned with their sons, coaxed the Aboriginal people to their boat and gave them food. Although at first the men did not like the taste of the baijini food, they soon became used to it. Later they stayed with the Baijini and helped them to collect trepang, bringing their wives and relatives to assist with the work.

In [Bayini, Men and Women of Port Bradshaw] the four figures are the Baijini people at Port Bradshaw. Reading from the left are their names: Tainitja, Ditjaru, name forgotten, and Gurumuluna, whom the Aboriginal people looked upon as the head man. The men, Tainitja and Gurumuluma, are carrying large steel knives, one in either hand.

[Charles P. Mountford, 'Records of the American-Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land vol. 1: Art, myth and symbolism', pg. 334]

Place of origin
Yirrkala, North-east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
natural pigments on paper
45.5 x 58.5 image/sheet; 63.0 x 76.0 x 3.6 cm frame
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Gift of the Commonwealth Government 1956
Accession number