Walkalan – the story of Bonefish: A Wik creation story

March 28, 2022

Indigenous man with gold-colour grass and blue sky behind him

Eleven hours drive north of Cairns, a community of around 1200 people live on the remote western coast of the Cape York Peninsula at Aurukun (Wik, Wik Way and Kugu Country).

In 2020, the Aurukun Shire Council (Aurukun Indigenous Knowledge Centre) came up with the idea of creating a documentary about the Wik firesticks. But after consulting Aurukun elders they decided to make a film in Wik-Mungkan – the predominant language spoken in the region – about the story of the Bonefish.

The film features senior Winchanam elder and artist Alair Pambegan who explores the significance of the bonefish as the clan’s totem and creation story.

With support from a CBF Content grant, ten local people worked on the documentary, providing opportunities for the team to learn new skills and techniques to produce this high-quality documentary filmmaking the project.

The resulting film is Walkalan — Story of the Bonefish. It is currently showing at the Cairns Art Gallery, as part of this year’s Indigenous Art Fair and will soon feature on ICTV. The team also hope showcase their film at FRAME in Alice Springs this year.

“The CBF grant was critical in supporting local participation during the development of the doco and helped with cultural maintenance through the medium of digital storytelling. The project was an opportunity to share Language and Culture in our community.” – Gabriel Waterman, Project Co-Coordinator/Arts Centre Manager

Watch Walkalan—Story of the Bonefish >


Photo: Artist and elder Alair Pambegan, who features in Walkalan – the story of Bonefish documentary.

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