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Two Rivers Talking

Updated: Feb 23, 2021

Elders and leaders from the Kimberley have joined Noongar Elders and leaders and others for a celebration of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River and the Derbal Yerrigan Swan River at a special screening of the new short film The Serpent's Tale.

The Serpent’s Tale tells the National Heritage Listed creation story of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River. Filmed over three years under the guidance of traditional owners the film mixes stunning footage, interviews with Elders and animations to tell the ancient story of one of the last wild rivers on the planet and the people who are charged with keeping that story alive.

The first screening took place at Luna Leederville on February 14, with a second screening at Luna Essex in Fremantle the following night. Carol Innes MC'd both events.

The first screening also featured a welcome by Whadjuk Elder Dr Noel Nannup who also worked as a park ranger out of Fitzroy Crossing for six years.

"We say 'Ni!' which means 'listen'. 'Koodjal bilyada waanginy' - two rivers are talking. Those rivers are just so important to all of us. And we must never allow them to follow the model of the Murray," Noel said.

"It is our duty as maturing Australians, in a collective, to make sure that those rivers stay as safe and secure as we can keep them. Every person is born in a catchment, and when you're born in that catchment you eek out your existence in that catchment. And if the river's not healthy neither are we. So we have to keep the land healthy to keep the rivers healthy, and to keep ourselves healthy," Noel said.

The film was followed by a Q&A session with Elders and leaders from the Kimberley, including Dr Anne Poelina and other members of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council.

"Tonight is really also to get you also to fall in love with the Derbal Yerrigan," Anne said. "We stand with one mind, with one voice, and we stand in unity - not just for the Martuwarra, but for all of the rivers. Because the rivers are life, they are alive, they are a living system that has a right to live and flow."

"We can teach you how to become part of a system of life, of living. A system that can teach you how to be a good human being - how to fulfill your journey as a human being," Anne said.

Dr Richard Walley gave the welcome at the second screening in Fremantle alongside other Noongar Elders and leaders.

Click below for a sneak peak from the film by Mark Jones.

Final four photos by Miles Tweedie Photography


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