A half ibis, half man.
His tears falling on the ground and forming sources of water for the souls who inhabit his land.
From grief comes hope. From tears, life.
They sing songs about him. The songs are also poems.
Poems are remembered well. Long after the original indigenous inhabitants had vanished, the generations afterwards could still remember many of the poems of their people.
The poems give meaning to a vast land which to the eyes of the Europeans was – and still is – daunting, monotonous: a terrible emptiness.
The song poems are maps of the mind….and together, they form another very different idea of Australia.
And so it happens that when Norman B. Tindale meets Ivaritji in the Adelaide Museum in 1927, he asks about the song poem of Tjilbruke. The son of a missionary, he is on a mission. Not a mission to convert others. The mission of a scientist. A mission to change the way Australians look at their country….