Gäwa Christian School Logo
Damaŋu Bukulatjpi painted the artwork that we use for our school logo. It was created and presented to the school back in 2004 when the school was first established.
Damaŋu had never explained the meaning or significance of the painting and wanted to share this story with us. He took us to a sacred site and told us the story behind the painting in his own language, Warramiri.
Damaŋu & Manydjawuki taking us to the waterhole
Damaŋu telling us the story at 'Gapu Gandjula'
Djaŋum napa dhawaraŋ garmak’ku. Ga manymak
This hole is for water. Yes, good.
Ga djaŋum gay’ djaŋum ŋunha inside.
And this is inside.(refering to octopus in picture)
Djaŋum half nhan raypiny, ga half ḏamurruŋ.
It is half freshwater and half saltwater
That’s why nhan yaka ŋoya djinal.
That’s why the octopus stays here.
Ŋunham djunama ŋoyŋam nhan ḏamurruŋ’ŋa garmak. Ga manymak.
This one here, underneath is saltwater. Yes, good.
Djaŋum märrma ŋunha mani ŋoya ŋarri yaŋunha Bakuḻaŋay.
Two waters (top is fresh, underneath is saltwater) come and settle in this place Bakuḻaŋay.
Ŋaliŋgu nharri nhan yaka rälin.
It travels from there to here (motioning from the creek to the waterhole).
Manymak. Ga djaŋu ŋatjil marandjalk dhawathuwan
Good. A long time ago a stingray came out
Ratharathan ŋarrin rälin. Räli.
This is the direction that it went.
Ratharathan ŋarri dhäya nhaŋguŋ djinakuŋ marandjalk’kuŋ.
The stingray left its mark in this place.
Dhawar’yunma nhan ŋarri ŋunha gathul’miŋa.
It ends over there in the mangroves.
Ga djaŋun nhan yaka ŋoyam.
That’s where he stopped.
Yo. Ga djuka nhanŋu noya ŋarri wayala djaŋu ya djaŋu.
Yes. This path goes in this direction there to the creek bed.
Djaŋu miny’tji djinakuŋ bili.  Djaŋu miny’tji djaŋu ḻiŋgu ŋoya ga inside ŋunha.
This is where we get the design. This design is from inside here.
Djinakuŋ ga märrma nhan djaŋu garmak’ma raypiny ga ḏamurruŋ
From this (waterhole) there are two types of waters- freshwater and saltwater.
Djaŋu na rumbal ma inside ŋunha bala bärrku.
This body (referring to octopus in logo) is inside (in this waterhole)
Djaŋum nhan yaka dhawaṯthunma ganydjulaŋuru ŋarrpiyawuru. Djinawaŋuru ŋunha.
It is coming out the octopus’ eyes (the water).  Inside there.
Yo, bilanya djaŋu dhäwum nyiliŋu.
Yes, this is the story for you.
‘Gapu Gandjula’ The Sacred Waterhole
Damaŋu’s ancestors have lived in Gäwa for many generations. They travelled between here and the neighbouring islands by canoe. When they camped on the beach at Gäwa they collected fresh drinking water from the waterhole. This place is very special to the Warramiri people. It contains much history, stories and songs that have been handed down many generations.
Origin of the name Gäwa
Gäwa refers to a large plot of land that includes the school but stretches beyond the buildings homes. The area is split up again into three separate locations and each has different names and different stories. The name ‘Gäwa’ originates back to the days when Yolŋu traded with Maccassan visitors. ‘Gäwa’ is a Maccassan word meaning home. The literal word actually refers to a large bowl that was used for washing clothes.


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