Singing Not Crying

Grace Mulligan (2017)  Story of Mijirrikan – Two Snakes Dreaming – Creation of the Fitzroy River .

Grace Mulligan (2017) Story of Mijirrikan – Two Snakes Dreaming – Creation of the Fitzroy River.

‘Singing Not Crying’ – from the Mardoowarra–Fitzroy River of Life!

By Dr Anne Poelina

I am Yoongoorrookoo, Rainbow Serpent singing.
Travelling high up in the sky and down through rivers, land and sea. I hear the humans crying now, how woeful their cries continue to be! What is happening in our nation state, our nation home, our country. I see below me ... floods and fires crisscross this torched country. Then the floods, then the drought, then more heat.
Aboriginal leadership and water governance missing in action.
Buried within – systemic racism, structural violence.
Hidden at all levels of governance and bureaucracy.
Wake up I say, you human beings wake up and hear me belly crawl.

Wake up maybe ... one last time and listen to Bruce Pascoe’s call.
There is a wisdom here heavily rooted intrinsically between Aboriginal nations.
Their land, living waters, sea and the sky.
Aboriginal voice muted in the management and protection of our rivers.
Cry out ‘we need to be recognised’.
Defrauded, dis-eased into staying quiet.
Now through their mourning awakening others to their calling.
Recognised, reconciled, healing, transformation in order to fully adopt a united Australian nation. Australia taken by theft from these ancient nations.
It’s time to pause and take a deeper breath.

Read full poem - [ PDF 1.1 MBs ]

Balginjirr: A Special Place on our Home River Country

Dr. Anne Poelina (Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Master of Education, Master of Arts (Indigenous Social Policy), Doctor of Philosophy & Doctor of Health Science (Scholar)) is Managing Director of Madjulla Incorporated. She is a Nyikina Warwa Traditional Custodian from the Mardoowarra, Lower Fitzroy River in the West Kimberley region of Western Australia. Her childhood growing up in Broome, Derby and out on country has given her the love and respect for the diversity of Indigenous people, kinship and culture. She is a 2011 Peter Cullen Fellow for Water Leadership and is a signatory to the Redstone Statement that she helped draft at the 1st International Summit on Indigenous Environmental Philosophy in 2010. In 2011, she was the Inaugural Chair of the National First Peoples Water Engagement Council and later the same year she was elected onto the Broome Shire Council and became Deputy Shire President in her first term of office.  

In 2014, she was elected as Director and recently Deputy Chair of the Walalakoo Prescribed Body Corporate responsible for the integrated management of 27,000 square kilometres of Nyikina and Mangala Native Title lands and waters. In 2017, she was awarded a Laureate from the Women’s World Summit Foundation (Geneva). In 2018 she was elected Chair of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council. She is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow with Notre Dame University and a Research Fellow with Northern Australia Institute Charles Darwin University. Her current work explores the entrepreneurial ‘New Economy’ opportunities for Indigenous people along the National Heritage Listed Fitzroy River, in relation to green collar jobs in diverse, science, culture, heritage and conservation economies. Dr. Poelina champions the need to include traditional ecological knowledge, First Law and the rights of nature to the solutions for planetary health and wellbeing. See website:

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