FAMILY HISTORY: Tjabadungah, 13, Yellagunjimurra, 17, dad Trinity Yanner, mum Jaymie Tennant with newborn Jeribi and Lahleejah Ngurlumirddi, 10 (front).
FAMILY HISTORY: Tjabadungah, 13, Yellagunjimurra, 17, dad Trinity Yanner, mum Jaymie Tennant with newborn Jeribi and Lahleejah Ngurlumirddi, 10 (front). Contributed

Kids take on names of past

FROM family history to tribal wisdom and the beauty of a tiny bird, the names of the children from one Blackwater family have been chosen to reflect the past, indigenous traditions and family ties.

Trinity Yanner has proudly honoured his ancestors, his country and his culture with the names of each of his offspring.

With partner Jaymie Tennant, Mr Yanner said the couple received a "sign” before they discovered they were pregnant with their youngest, Jeribi.

He said three-week-old Jeribi Nulyarimma had been named after the small white-breasted wood swallow, or jeribi, because the bird appeared to the couple before they found out they were pregnant.

"We were going down to a local cafe for coffee and lunch and while we're walking into the cafe there's a little white-breasted wood swallow and he's sitting on the ground, so I walked over to him and had a yarn,” Mr Yanner said.

"I scooped him up into my hand and asked him, 'What's going on with you mate?' And I passed him to my missus.

"I thought he might have a broken wing and we both held him for about a minute each. And then he just flew off - and then about three hours later we found out she was pregnant. It definitely was a sign.”

Mr Yanner said 17-year-old Yellagunjimurra's name originated from his father's side of the family.

"It's a name for 'country' and it's over on the Northern Territory side of the border because my family travelled up that way and that name is a Garrawa name,” he said.

The word means "where the rainbow dreams” or "the big hole in the ground where the rainbow serpent lived”.

Mibbulgurrdoo, 14, was a name Mr Yanner liked because it was also the name of his great-grandfather's little sister.

Mibbulgurrdoo Yanner.
Mibbulgurrdoo Yanner. Contributed

"She passed away when she was between 12-14 years old and she never had anyone to pass her name on to,” he said.

"I thought I would name one of my babies after her to carry on her spirit.

"It means 'good sight' and she's got her eyes peeled all the time. Not much gets by her.”

Younger brother Tjabadungah, 13, was named after Mr Yanner's great- great-great grandfather. It means "boss” or "song man”.

"He was a clever man. Not just in life but in cultural ways,” Mr Yanner said.

"It's not everyday person's knowledge. He's the one the rest of the tribe looked to for guidance and wisdom.

"And my son, he has taken on the character.”

Ten-year-old Lahleejah Ngurlumirddi's name derives from "king saltwaterbarramundi jumping out of the water thrashing his gills”.

"When her mum was pregnant with her, I was out one night time on the work boat in Burketown and I would take people out croc spotting,” Mr Yanner said.

"I'm leaning over the bow of the boat and I'm about to grab a 4ft salty croc ... and next minute I hear 'boom' - something hit the boat - and the next minute 'splash' - something big landed in the boat.

"It was a 1.2m long barramundi and black fella don't believe anything happen accidental. That's the kid showing up.”


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