Gone Fishing

26 AM 447/02
Reuben Oates Manakgu Billabong Scene 2002
Ochres on Arches Paper A3 1671-02


The artist has painted a billabong scene with various edible fish and reptiles found in the billabongs, water courses and wetlands throughout Arnhem Land. The namarnkol or barramundi, the renowned game fish of the 'Top End' of Australia. They grow to extraordinary sizes and are excellent eating. The namarnkol can be found in saltwater as well as freshwater billabongs and rivers. These fish have significance as food and as totems and are most easily caught after the end of the monsoon (March -April) until the humid build-up season (October). Namardakka or nail fish. Namardakka frequent the freshwater billabongs and flood plains of the top end. They are a supplementary food source for the Aboriginal people. Two Ngalmangiyi the long-necked turtle. Ngalmangiyi has rich white flesh and is also sought for its eggs which are laid in mud. The best times for hunting turtle are the six or so months after Kudjewk the monsoon that occurs in the beginning of the year.

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