Changing Tides. Zachary Bennett Brooks.

Baraya Barray ~ Whale Song

Baraya Barray ~ Whale Song brings attention to the origin of First Nations languages and the important lessons we can learn from our natural environment in caring for Country by celebrating saltwater songlines of the East Coast following the movements of Humpback Whales from Lutruwita (TAS) to Meanjin (QLD).

Coinciding with the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, during the three year program, communities across the east coast will connect young First Nations people with Elders, Language Custodians, scientists, poets and musicians, through On Country immersive experiences, to learn about and respond to our original language holders - the Whales.

Creating new songs and poems in language alongside Elders, students revitalise the tradition of orality, learning culture and stories first hand through embodied experiences, that cultivate pride and enhance wellbeing.

Participants listen to and record whale song, learn the whale stories of their Country, and look for environmental and ecological indicators to their health and migration journey. Dances, poems and songs in language are created in response, recorded, performed and passed along to neighbouring communities, creating a new contemporary songline up the East Coast.

Dharawal Workshop in June 2023

In June 2023, a pilot workshop was held on Dharawal Country with young First Nations students from years 3 - 10 from Wollongong and Shoalhaven communities, with family members, spent a day with Elders, language custodians and cultural knowledge holders Jacob Morris, Aunty Jodi Edwards, Aunty Lauren Chapman, Layne Brown and Daryn McKenny, poet Kirli Saunders, and Dharawal born Warrimay poet and musician Nicole Smede.

Learning and passing down knowledge together, Dharawal whale dreaming, story, song and dance was shared, as well as knowledge of whale songline, migration, and marine health. Students created poems in response weaving in Gumea Dharawal and Dharawal language.

Short video filmed during the June 2023 Dharawal pilot workshop.

Directed by Luke Agius
Produced by Rami Fischler
Song composition by Nicole Smede
Poem and reading by Indiana Lane