Madarrpa funeral at Gurka'wuy

Australia, 1976

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In the small Aboriginal community of Gurka’wuy, 170 kms. south of Yirrkala, a baby dies. Subtitled “a way of coping with death in north-east Arnhem Land through ties of clan, religion and land”, this film, photographed by Dean Semler, depicts the three day long preparations for the funeral, and the funeral itself. The ceremonies, dances, songs and paintings are described in detail, as the child is symbolically returned to its clan lands further south.

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Ian Dunlop

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Film Australia



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