The project team at the BBQ with Julette Johnson.

Image: Songlines of Country project team at the Gorge with Uncle Kelvin Johnson and Aunty Judy Johnson 

The Aboriginal Elders and Cultural Knowledge Holders leading the Songlines of Country project have begun mapping the project’s physical journey.

“It is great to be able to be back On Country,” said University of New England’s Dr Lorina Barker, a Wangkumara/Muruwari scholar and Lead Chief Investigator of Songlines of Country.

“While the project team, Elders and communities have remained connected and engaged, COVID-19 delayed our ability to travel.”

Songlines of Country is an oral history and multi-media project tracking three significant Songlines (Baiame, the Mundaguddah and the Seven Sisters) and their travelling routes – from the Ikara-Flinders Ranges in northeast SA into the Corner Country, to southwest QLD and to the Baaka (Darling River) in northwest NSW.

Over multiple years, On Country Gatherings and workshops will be held at significant sites during field trips. This process creates space for Elders and Community to share stories of the Songlines. Mura (Knowledge and history) will be transferred to younger generations utilising contemporary multimedia. This will include the production of a major new documentary film in partnership with award winning filmmakers, Typecast Entertainment.

“Before embarking on the project journey it is essential that the team is advised and guided by Elders and Cultural Knowledge Holders – mapping the journey so that it follows the Songlines, while ensuring the safety of people, Knowledge and sites,” Dr Barker said.

Ikara-Flinders Ranges

Adnyamathanha Elders have begun this process with the project team On Country during April. Mapping will continue in western NSW and the Corner Country during May and June 2021. 

‘Songlines of Country’ has been created in partnership between Community and Taragara Aboriginal Corporation. It is supported by the University of New England, communities, organisations and funding bodies in South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.

Research was funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council.