This Song is from Ever Since: Songs for Wägilak Country - produced for ABC Radio National - SharingStories Foundation


This Song is from Ever Since: Songs for Wägilak Country – produced for ABC Radio National

Release Date: July 2011

Roy Ashley Waṉapuyŋu is a late senior Elder of the Wägilak clan of NE Arnhem Land. In late 2010 Liz Thompson and Simon Green travelled with him and his family to Beswick Falls, a remote and magical place in Jawoyn country and sat with him as he spoke about Wägilak stories and history.

They sat for four days in the shade of the paperbarks and Roy sang of Gaṉdjaḻaḻa, an ancestral spirit who gave law, language, songs and ceremonies to the Wägilak people.

A great funeral singer, Roy is responsible for singing the spirits of the Wägilak home to a place called Wukidi. He also shared fragments of Wata (Wind), the song, along which the spirits travel. These epic song cycles hold vast bodies of knowledge for those to whom they belong. The singing of them in their entirety, in a ceremonial context, might take days.

In these recordings made with Roy over those few days, he offered glimpses and insight into the incredible depth and beauty of that which he holds.

This Song is from Ever Since: Songs for Wägilak Country is a result of that journey and offered as a song itself for the wellbeing of people, Country and culture.


Senior Cultural Custodians: Roy Ashley Waṉapuyŋu and Senior Liya Dhalinymirr Cultural Custodian Yingiya Guyula
Producers: Liz Thompson and Simon Green
Engineer: Steven Tilley
Additional composition and sound design: Simon Green
Additional audio and location recordings: Jane Ulman and Gretchen Miller

Special thanks to:
Roy Ashley Waṉapuyŋu
Sammy Milkurra
Sarah Bidingal Ashley

Translations: Yingiya Guyula – Yolngu Studies lecturer at Charles Darwin University

Thanks also:
John Greatorex – Yolngu Studies Charles Darwin University
Miriam Lieberman, Gavin Spokes, David Page

The story and knowledge in this program was shared by Mr Roy Ashley Waṉapuyŋu who comes from the clan of the Wägilak people. He was a senior Waṉapuyŋu Dhukuyuna leader, the leading man looking after all the songs, ceremonies and history regarding the Wägilak people of the Dhuwa Dhurili Clans.

The Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property in this program embodies cultural and ritual knowledge of the Wägilak community. It was created with consent of senior cultural custodians. Use of any part of the program’s content for any purpose that has not been authorised by the custodians is a serious breach of the customary lore (and or Copyright Act 1968 Cth) of the Wägilak community. To contact custodial members regarding permitted use please email

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