Bush University, Land of the Lightning Brothers


Since 1990 I have been a student of Wardaman Aboriginal Elder Bill Harney and presenting Bush UniversityLand Of the Lightning Brothers, a slide show of rock art, with associated Creation Stories, didgeridoo, dance and songs from Bill's Wardaman homeland in the Victoria River region of Australia's Northern Territory.

Bush University is the Aboriginal term for the School of Nature, learning and paying attention to the plants, birds, animals, insects, the land, that are spiritually alive with story and song and constantly teaching us, reminding us of our primary role as humans, to be the custodians, to care for the natural world.

Bush University is interactive story, song, dance, and can be adapted to any audience and can feature;

   - An overview of Aboriginal Culture and Wisdom
   - Overview of European settlement, the Convicts and Colonization
   - Bill growing up in two worlds, the Traditional and Cattle Industry
   - The Stolen Generation
   - Wardaman Creation Story in rock art
   - The three major Creators, Rainbow Gorrondolmi, Dung Dung Frog Lady and Nardi Sky Boss.
   - Lightning Brothers Story and rock art
   - Moon, Spirit Children, Possum and Reincarnation Story and rock art
   - Animal/Bird/ Insect images and rock art
   - Didgeridoo making

In 2003 Bill asked me to film and document his rock art sites and associated stories for his people. So in 2004 we formally began the Wardaman Dreaming Project, now titled the Yubulyawan Dreaming Project YDP. Here you can see many video clips of Bill sharing his culture in his own words.

Yidumduma Bill Harney is an Elder and the last Senior Male Aboriginal custodian of the Wardaman people of the Victoria,
Flora, and Katherine River Districts of the Northern Territory of Australia. Born in MUY MUY clan country in the early 1930's, Yidumduma is of the YUBULYAWAN clan.

Raised and educated in Wardaman traditional ceremony, Yidumduma is a fully initiated Wardaman man and speaks seven languages. He worked at an early age on cattle stations and throughout his life has prospered in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous worlds.

He has been described as one of Australia's living 'National Treasures'.