Goanna song and dance at Marrambidya Wetland

Published: 09 Nov 2018 10:05am

The spiritual significance of the goanna in Aboriginal culture will be brought to life in song and dance at a ceremony at Wagga Wagga’s Marrambidya Wetland early next week.

Marrambidya Wetland is becoming a location embraced by the Aboriginal community as a place where information about the Wiradjuri people can be passed on to the community.

To further enhance the visitor experience at the wetland the Hands on Weavers (HOW), a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, have weaved an effigy of a goanna, or Gugaa in Wiradjuri language.

The Gugaa is the totem animal for Wiradjuri people and is discussed in many cultural stories.

HOW will display the ephemeral artwork at the wetland and Kooringal High School students will perform a goanna dance to the recently created goanna song “Because Of Her We Can”.

This will be followed by the presentation of NAIDOC awards to members of the HOW group.

Council’s Environmental Management Team Leader Tony Phelps said the Marrambidya Wetland is an important place for the Wagga Wagga community to engage in passive recreation, education, ecological restoration and reconciliation.

“Events such as the Goanna Song and Dance Ceremony highlight the importance of the wetland to the community and how it involves various groups at all levels,” Mr Phelps said.

Visitors to the wetland can also see artwork by local artist Aunty Kath Withers, hear the recorded spoken words of Uncle James Ingram and Aboriginal community members Mark Saddler and Ashleigh Pengelly, see scarred trees, as well as read about cultural stories and practices.


What: Goanna Song and Dance Ceremony, followed by NAIDOC awards to members of the Hands on Weavers group.
Where: Marrambidya Wetland, Narrung Street
When: Monday 12 November 10.30am-12 noon

10.30am: Introduction
10.35am: Welcome to Country
10.45am: Smoking Ceremony
11.10am: Discuss the weaving group; Presentation of Goanna to Wagga City Council
11.20am: Council response
11.30am: Goanna song “Because Of Her We Can”
11.40am: Goanna Dance
11.50am: Presentation of NAIDOC awards