Gunimidjina Gwalwa Daraniki

Title of mural: Gunimidjina Gwala Daraniki (Saltwater Country), by Denise Quall.
Artback NT would like to acknowledge the Kulumbirigin Corporation for their work in realising this project.
Project Partners: ABC Darwin, Larrakia Nation, Proper Creative, Activate Darwin.
Time lapse video includes Trade assistants; Jordan Conrad and Caleb Schatz, and Audio; Maree Yoelu interviewing Denise on ABC Darwin Late Lunch.


Gunimidjina Gwalwa Daraniki (Saltwater Country) is a street art piece that provides a vibrant Larrakia welcome for visitors to Darwin and for the local population to enjoy. The dynamic Kulumbirigin mural is designed and produced by Senior Larrakia artist Denise Quall with her brother Tibby Quall as the cultural advisor. The 30-metre mural holds deep cultural significance for local Traditional Owners and reaches the full length of ABC Darwin’s Bennett Street wall.

Ngagan-Dji Nagandji – Bah (Brahminy Kite) features at the beginning of the mural. Its broad wingspan stretches wide across the first section and will welcome people to Larrakia Country, Badjigirri Kulumbirigin Country.

The inspiration for this mural comes from my Mother’s Country and our family totems. Whenever I see Ngagan-Dji Nagandji – Bah flying overhead I feel an instant calm – a good feeling. Ngagan-Dji Nagandji – Bah watches over the Country, healing and protecting, ensuring spiritual connection is maintained.

Denise Quall

Gunimidjina Gwalwa Daraniki mural is multi-layered and contains deep spiritual connection to the land and Quall’s Mother’s Country. The colours of the mural represent the natural ochres of Saltwater Country where she grew up and still lives today.

I spent a lot of time sketching ideas down at the beach, the ochres in the rocks and cliffs, that is my library.

Denise Quall

Artback NT received a grant through ‘Activate Darwin – Transforming Public Spaces’ to project manage a street art piece that would provide a vibrant Larrakia Welcome and deliver a creative response to improve public spaces and deliver a more walkable city. The vision for Artback NT was to enable and facilitate a project that would create a strong sense of local identity, promotion and pride at an entry point to Darwin. The intention of the mural was to also highlight the diversity of Larrakia experiences by creating awareness and making prominent the unique culture and language of the local people. In turn, this would provide audiences with a sophisticated contemporary representation of Larrakia perspectives.

A Saltwater person from the Dangalaba Clan (Crocodile Clan) Denise Quall was the youngest of five children who grew up on the hill behind ABC Darwin.

Who would have thought, I grew up on the hill behind here, and I’ve seen all the change – dirt roads, old cars. We used to walk up to the centre of town with a saucepan to collect noodle soup from one of the Chinese shops on Cavanagh Street.

This mural is a part of me, part of my family and gives meaning. How to survive on your land, which animals are important and how the seasons signify different time for ceremonies. The spirit world and the modern world.

Denise Quall

The painting of the Gunimidjina Gwalwa Daraniki mural began during Reconciliation Week 2021. The essence of the mural is beautifully summed up:

Everything is connected – everything is spiritually connected to the seasons, people, animals.

Tibby Quall

30 Metre visual panorama

Image; George F Photography

The now completed Kulumbirigin mural is welcoming locals and visitors to the eastern side of the Darwin CBD.

The impressive 30 metre visual panorama reaches the full length of ABC Darwin’s Bennett Street wall (at the intersection of Cavanagh Street).

Gunimidjina Billida means Saltwater People, and Gunimidjina Gwalwa Daraniki is Saltwater Country.

The background of the mural represents the natural ochre colours of Gunimidjina Gwalwa Daraniki where Denise lives and grew up.

Badjigirri Kulumbirigin

Ngagan-Dji Nagandji – Bah

Image; George F Photography

Badjigirri means welcome. Kulumbirigin is one of the several countries or language groups that make up the Larrakia area. Larrakia is more commonly used now as not all the language groups have survived since colonisation. Badjigirri Kulumbirigin Country translates to ‘Welcome to Larrakia Country’. The Ngagan-Dji Nagandji – Bah (Brahminy Kite) is illustrated with its broad wingspan stretched wide across the first section of the mural. Whenever Denise sees this bird near her, she feels an instant calm – a good feeling as Ngagan-Dji Nagandji – Bah is her family’s totem.

This signifies the start of the mural and welcomes everyone to Kulumbirigin Country.  Ngagan-Dji Nagandji – Bah is watching over healing and protecting the Country and ensuring the spiritual connection is maintained.

Ngagan-Dji Nagandji – Bah is a medium sized raptor (bird of prey), widespread along the north coast of Australia, particularly found near mangrove swamps and estuaries.

Radiating from the Ngagan-Dji Nagandji – Bah and connecting all components of the mural is a series dots. The white and yellow ochre dots represent the spirits moving through the Country. Everything is spiritually connected. White ochre represents protection from bad spirits. The movement represents travel, smoking (cleansing) and healing. The other ochre colours painted in the mural represent and are used for other ceremonies.

Dangalaba Clan Gaginga

Image; George F Photography

Denise is a Saltwater person from the Dangalaba Clan (Crocodile Clan) and speaks to the Law systems. The crocodile stands tall towards the centre of the mural. It curls around close to the Gaginga (magpie goose). Widespread throughout northern Australia, Gaginga references the seasons. Dangalaba people recognise six seasons throughout the year. Illustrating Gaginga signifies the Egg Season (breeding season). After the wet season, there is new life. It also references hunting, bush tucker and the seasons turning.

Men’s Business

Image; George F Photography

The two circular shapes separated by the animal motifs are men’s and women’s business. People coming together to share, bring food, and talk. The artist has depicted traditional men’s and women’s gathering areas. The men are sitting around fire.

Women’s Business

Image; George F Photography

The women’s design talks about sitting down, hunting/gathering and weaving together. The women weave using green Pandanus, which they strip then weave and let dry. The mural also speaks to being taught how to survive on your land, which animals are important and how the seasons signify different time for ceremonies. The spirit world and the modern world.

Link for the full ABC article about the Gunimidjina Gwalwa Daraniki’ mural including time lapse video.