Non-Indigenous name: Lake Disappointment
Traditional knowledge: Lake Disappointment [is where] that Jukurrpa come in. Ngayurnangalku [cannibal beings]. South of Balgo, they was all travelling, kakarra [eastern] mob and the west mob joined in from west of Well 40. They met up together and they all travelled together, getting all the people, killing them and eating them all. Ngayurnangalku. [The eastern Ngayurnangalku] got [to Kumpupirntily] first and they stop and wait there with their mothers, waiting for this mob to come in, west mob … This mob come in now, they all got to sit down together, meet up together, Ngayurnangalku.
They all cried together, the family, and they had a big meeting there. All ask one another questions. "What are we going to do? Are we going to stop killing the peoples and eating ’em?" They asked everybody, everybody in the reserve, kids and all, ladies and all, mens and everybody … Everybody agrees. "Alright, we better stop eating the peoples." Then that night there was a baby born from that [eastern] group, that other side here … "Oh, missing one over there. Young girl had a baby". And they asked the baby, newborn baby, and he said, "No".
That’s it, come back and tell this mob here, "The little kid said no. We can still carry on and continue eating peoples." But this [west] mob said, "No, we’re not going to touch". Mother and a father was there and two sons. That’s the bodyguard, saving all the people. He can save them too. This one here [sandhill where the bodyguards live], you can go through on that. Yeah, bad people, and the good peoples on this side, west side. Lake Disappointment. Kumpupirntily people, yeah. Kumpupirntily his name, Lake Disappointment whitefella name. (Jeffrey James, 2007)
Little baby girl. And they ask him, "Are we going to stay one and eat only malu [wallaby] and animals?" Little wanti [girl] says, "No, we going to eat human too". Little baby been say, "Hmm! Mm!" [Like a hiccup,] "Yes, keep eating them".
They started round Maraminda side and went on their knees and wailed all the way to Lake Disappointment. Ngayumangalku travelled all the way to Savory Creek from east and west, stopped at Jilakuru and near Puntuwarri. They travelled from long way and stopped at Lake Disappointment. (Jakayu Biljabu, 2009)
I’m not going over there. It’s dangerous, that Country. When whitefellas tell me to go there, I’m not going. I’ve seen that [cannibal] man. He’s there and I know it. [My parents] told us, "When you go there, you’ll see a light. Only can go there when the wind can blow". When the wind is blowing we can go there, can go past. If the wind stops you can’t go any further, because he’s there. When the wind stops, it’s no good. That’s what the old people were telling us …
My grandfather went to Lake Disappointment chasing the dingo and he heard an old woman making a noise like howling, but she was crying for that dingo that my grandfather was spearing and chasing. So, that woman grabbed his arm and put her long sharp fingernail through his wrist and paralysed him. She put her fingernail right through his wrist. Then that cannibal took him to a group of other cannibals, ready to cook him up to eat. They took him and had him there and they were singing him first. My grandfather is a strong maparn [magic] man. Lucky for him. He got out of there, because of his strength as a maparn. (Yunkurra Billy Atkins, 2008)
You can kill them and cut them up and they put themselves back together again. They a magic people. Just like a Terminator. They can eat you. I don’t want to go there. They live underground. (Kilalapari Butcher Wise, 2009)
You know, when they’re travelling from north [the drovers], they just take all the spinifex and put him in there [in the horse-bell]. No noise. Only bullock can make a noise, "Boo". They tell us, "Don’t make a fire". You know, "Don’t make a spinifex light," otherwise Ngayurnangalku will be making a fire again. Yeah. Giving a sign. (Billy Patch (Mr P), 2007)
Related art centre(s): Other
Media title: Kumpupirntily (Lake Disappointment)
Media creator: Tim Acker
Media description: Kumpupirntily (Lake Disappointment)
Media Copyright: FORM
Accession ID: FORM_MIRA_B0088_0010
Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.