The work comprises four panels: Bayibayimi – 'That place where the big machine [crushing plant] is and all around the airport is called Ngulpan Rrumiyala. Ngulngulyun is the big noise coming from the crushing plant. All the gunda [rocks] are going down the big hole and getting crushed up. All the gunda are going along the moving road [conveyor belt, represented by the horizontal dots] coming from the Galkila area and on the left going to Galupa area.' Ngulpan to Galupa – 'The bauxite goes into the machines as bathala gunda [big rocks] and then it is crushed and travels along the conveyor belt to be washed. Then on to Galupa where the crushed bauxite goes into the machine and becomes a powder, turning from red to white. It [the white powder] comes shooting out – larrwang. A man always sits here to operate the machine.' Galupa – 'This is a special tree for mokuy [spirit people]: Dhanburama, Ganbudal, Lawirrlawirr. It is the only tree left there. That tree represents all the Gumatj people. Behind the Dhanburama office is where the tanks are [top of panel]. It gets hot here. Next [centre panel] is a wayin [bird], whose name is wayathul [jungle fowl], standing next to the Dawu tree. Alongside the tree is a Balanda (non-Aboriginal person) who works at Nabalco with a motorbike and a car, then another dharpa [tree]. In this area, a long time ago, there were lots of jungle fowl who would make their nests in the bush. Before the clearing for the mine – it's been all damaged by the machine, bathala [big] bulldozer – it used to be a good hunting place. Yolngu would hunt for ganguri [yams], guya [fish], maypal [oysters], miyapunu [turtle], and burum [fruit]. Yolngu would camp here but the only thing left from that long time ago is the Dawu tree; all the wayathul are all gone. There [bottom of panel] is the Balanda wanga [house] at a place called Wartjapa or Birrtjimi [Wallaby Beach]. The men come home from the mine with all the red dirt and dust all over them – red face, red hair, red on their clothes – muymi [coming home dirty]. Then they have a nice hot shower to clean themselves. The car is parked outside.'Wangarpanda – 'Here is a bauxite boat with luku [anchor] at the wharf at a place called Wangarpanda. The ore travels along the conveyor belt and sprinkles out at the end. Beside the big boat are little boats. They are sailing boats that have a calico [sail], which symbolises the Macassan fishermen who used to be here in this water with the Yolngu. The gunda [rocks] are called Nalila. They are found in the water off Gunyungara [Ski Beach]. In this gunda lies all the knowledge for the Gumatj clan. The bird above Nalila is ngurula [seagull]. Gumatj people are that gunda – we are Nalila. Another name for the anchor luku is djalkirri and can be that rock. When we travel to other places we carry that strength from the rock and feel connected to the country.' —Gaymala Yunupingu © Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory


  • Title: The Nabalco suite
  • Creator: Gaymala Yunupingu
  • Creator Lifespan: 1935 2005 - 2005
  • Creator Nationality: Australian
  • Creator Gender: Female
  • Date: 1999
  • Type: Work on Paper
  • Rights: Purchased 1999, Telstra Collection, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory © licensed by Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre
  • Medium: collagraph on paper
  • Geographical Region of Artist: Yirrkala, North-east Arnhem Land
  • Exhibition: 16th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award 1999
  • Ethnic Language Group: Yolngu
  • Dimensions: 75 x 160 cm (overall)
  • Collection: Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art
  • Artist Ethnicity: Aboriginal

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