Nudagun (place of fire) is group of three springs on Jabirr Jabirr country and is our families homeland where we maintain a responsibility for story and country. There are two larger springs that are surrounded by a mud flat and get completely surrounded by water during spring tides. The smaller spring is hidden in the bush land and is near the living area.
Nudagun is the home of the fire spirit ancestor, who was the only one to have fire. Two spirit people from the north travelled towards Nudagun and saw the fire. They hid in the bush until later that night before they crept in and stole the fire from the fire spirit. The fire spirit was woken by the noise and began to chase the spirit people. The spirit people ran and ran and as they ran, they created creeks and bays behind them to try and slow the fire spirit down. These creeks and bays became the boundaries for the clans and language groups of the region. When the spirit people were nearly home, they created the last creek that the fire spirit could not cross. The two spirit people stayed behind this creek and this became the boundary for their language.
This painting shows Nudagun during, Wirralburu, which is a short season at the start of the dry season when the dragonflies are visible, the lizards are fat, and the nights are becoming cooler. At this time, while the ground is just drying out and the grass is still a bit green we lite small fires around the smaller spring. These smaller fires protect the springs from destructive wildfires that occur later in the year. In the dry season the spring is filled with thousands of butterflies. These butterflies hold importance as ancestor and messenger spirits. If the spring is not protected and a large fire comes later in the dry season there won’t be any butterflies.