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Cape treasures

Cape Treasures is a collection of animations and group stories by children from four communities in Cape York.

The partnership between Aboriginal Shire Councils, the Torres Strait Island Regional Council and the State Library of Queensland supports a network of Indigenous Knowledge Centres (IKCs).

The IKCs are community hubs that engage all generations in creative, cultural and educational activities. These strong partnership encourage written and digital Indigenous authorship while valuing traditional expression through art, carving, dance and song.

Download the stories and read along with the videos.


Cape Treasures: Children from Cape York share stories

Cape Treasures: Children from Cape York share stories

PDF · 13 MB

Adventure at Thompson's Creek - Ngayu Jilba Dungan Bada Thompson's Creek

A story from Wujal Wujal

Lane Hooker, the 10 year old author of Ngayu Jilba Dungan Bada Thompson’d Creek, or, Adventure at Thompson’s Creek, developed this story as part of ‘literacy through the arts’ workshops at Wujal Wujal in 2010 and 2011. Children learnt storytelling, illustration, layering and composition techniques to create individual books about their journeys to places of cultural importance. In Lane’s story, the protagonist and his friends have a busy and satisfying day out, catching a freshwater perch, or ‘bayil’, and ‘ngawiya’, or turtle, too

Adventures at Thompson’s Creek (English language)

Adventures at Thompson’s Creek (Kuku Yalanji language)


Author: Lane Hooker, age 10. Original artwork by Bloomfield State School students
Literacy facilitator: Dot Walker
Illustration and ICT facilitator: Lynette Griffiths
Editing: Dot Walker
Digital preparation and illustration editing: Lynette Griffiths
Indigenous Knowledge Centre Coordinator: Carol Toby
Facilitating animator: Gregg Maxwell
Facilitating Artist animation: Sharon Phineasa
Local artists: Faron Nunn and Shontell Walker
Animators and post production: Paul Lalo and Jennie Vigaud
Sound recording: Gregg Maxwell

Voiceover English and Language narration: Carol Toby

Thanks and acknowledgements
Bloomfield River State School Principal: Lorne Willadsen
Class teacher: Jaki Levy
Language and support community teacher: Norman Tayley
Pegasus Studios: Nigel Pegrum
Participating students from Bloomfield River State School and participating children and their families involved in Culture Love 2011
With funding assistance from the Australian Government's Indigenous Culture and Support Program


Language Glossary:

kudi – barramundi
bulki – cow/cattle/bull
barrbal – mangrove jack
jilba dungan – adventure/walk about/hunting
bikibiki – pig
kaya – dog
kuyu – fish
bayil – freshwater perch
Buru – China Camp (back of Wujal Wujal)
ngawiya – green sea turtle
kiway kiway – cold
ngujay – freshwater turtle
mayi – food
ngayku – my
bayan – house/home
yalbay – big
jinkalgmu – brown snake
bulkiji – pippy shell
ngulkurr bajaku – fantastic/great/excitgin
juku – tree/stick
yamba yamba yirril – pack up


1:  On Sunday I packed my spear gun and diving mask and drove to Thompson’s Creek with my family

2:  When we got there we started looking under logs for ngujay but we did not catch anything.

3:  Then we walked downstream and under a tree we spotted all the kuyu swimming in the water.  Eric caught a good sized bayil.

4:  After this we walked upstream and Allan’s grandfather caught a huge ngujay.

5:  We made a fire and cooked both the ngujay and the bayil for lunch.  They tasted good.

6:   Finally we packed up all our gear and went home.

The Wallaby and the Dugong

A story from Lockhart River

This traditional story from Lockhart River, on the eastern coast of Cape York, is called The Wallaby and the Dugong, and teaches us how the animals got their distinctive tails. Vincent Temple, the original storyteller, shared the story with children form Lockhart River State School, who were taught illustration and photographic techniques to create the characters and backgrounds. The story has been recorded in both English and Umpila languages.

The Wallaby and the Dugong (English language)

The Wallaby and the Dugong (Umpila language)


Author: Written and illustrated by students from Lockhart River State School
Storyteller and Cultural Consultant: Vincent Temple
Literacy facilitator: Dot Walker
Illustration and ICT facilitator: Lynette Griffiths
Editing: Dot Walker
Digital preparation and illustration editing: Lynette Griffiths 
Animators: Paul Lalo and Jennie Vigaud
Sound artist: Will Kepa


English narration: Beverley Pascoe
Language narration: Dorothy Short, Suzie Pascoe and Queenie Giblet

Thanks and acknowledgements

Lockhart River State School Principal: Lorraine Boyland
Class teacher: Amanda Lawrence
Teacher aide: Beverly
Pegasus Studios: Nigel Pegrum
Indigenous Knowledge Centre staff
Participating children from Lockhart River State School
With funding assistance from the Australian Government's Indigenous Culture and Support Program


1: A very long time ago at Mosquito Creek there live a wallaby and a dugong.

2:  The wallaby did not like his big flat tail

3:  and the dugong did not like his long pointed tail.

4: Each day they would come to drink at the water hole and share stories about how unhappy they felt about their tails.

5: The wallaby dreamt about hopping fast through the bush and the dugong dreamt about swimming smoothly through the water.

6: So they decided to swap their tails.  They snapped them off and gave them to each other.

7:  Then the two animals tested out their new tails.

8: The tails worked so well both the animals agreed to keep them.

9: The dugong swam off smoothly through the water all the way to Murray Island where he found a wife and had a family.

10: After this they all swam back to Mosquito Creek where they lived happily together.  And that is the story of how the dugong got his tail!

The Kaangkan Brothers - Pormpuraaw

The Kaangkan Brothers 

A story from Pormpuraaw

The Kaangkan Brothers animation was developed over a five day Culture Love event taking place in Pormpuraaw on the western side of Cape York in November 2012. Elders shared this traditional story about respect and discipline with children and young people of their community, who then illustrated the characters and scenes. Visiting artists and animators worked with the community to record the narration in English and Munkan languages and animate the characters using stop motion techniques.


Author: Story told by the Elders of Pormpuraaw
Artwork:The children of Pormpuraaw State School

Storytellers: Cecelia Peter, Sid Bruce Shortjoe, Joel Ngallametta and Marlene Holroyd
Indigenous Knowledge Coordinator: Rosie Lowdon
Language consultant: Maggie Koo'aga
Facilitating animators: Paul Lalo and Jennie Vigaud
Facilitating artist: Charlie Street
Sound artist: Will Kepa


Narrator: Marlene Holroyd
Elder: Sid Bruce Shortjoe
Brother 1: Devaine Shortjoe
Brother 2: Joel Ngallametta

Thanks and acknowledgementsPorpuraaw State School Principal: Louise Jappe
Pormpuraaw Community Services Manager: Barbara Camp
Pormpuraaw Art and Culture Centre Incorporated: Paul Jakubowski
Pegasus Studios: Nigel Pegrum

Participating children and their families in Culture Love 2012, without whom the project would not have been possible.

With funding assistance from the Australian Government's Indigenous Culture and Support program and Arts Queensland's Backing Indigenous Arts


1:  A long time ago there were two brothers, both called Kaangkan. They lived way down Yiibeh at Staten River.

One day the tribal Elder Manthayan said,

‘Kaangkan it is time. You must go to Pala Kungkeh to the sacred site, the Bora ground, to learn how to become men.’

2:  Although a bit afraid, the two brothers set out northward. As they walked they sang a song they had known all their lives.

The two brothers walked a long way and then had a rest and something to eat.

3:   It wasn’t long before one of them said:

‘Brother, you hear that?’

The other listened.

‘Me’eh! Quick run!’

The mosquitos chased the brothers away from that place.

4: They decided to change direction and head inland, so they would not be attacked again.

They sang with each step and before too long it was time for another rest.

Then they were caught in a lightning storm!

‘Brother, watch out, thapan!’

The brothers scrambled to hide in the bush to escape.

‘Brother, maybe we are in the wrong place. This must be the lightening story place, Pankalthun.’

5: Continuing northward the brothers reached Waala by mid-afternoon.

As it was the time for salmon, the two brothers caught fish for their dinner:

‘Brother, look, malitha!’

And a korrwu too!

The brothers then crossed the river on a floating stick. One was afraid, but the other said:

‘Hold tight, we are nearly there brother.’

6: When they reached the other side they began singing the song they had sang their whole journey. This time the words were different. They were the words of this new country.

The brothers walked around the place that is Pormpurraw until they finally they reached the Bora ground, the place where only men can go.

7: When they returned home to their family, the brothers told them of all the things they had seen and done.

That night they had a big feast to celebrate the brothers’ homecoming with much dancing and singing around the fire.

Manthayan said to them:

‘Welcome home, Kaangkan brothers. You have returned as men.’

The Journey to Injinoo

A story from Injinoo

The Journey to Injinoo was created by students from Northern Peninsula Area State College as part of a ‘literacy through the arts’ workshop in 2010. This animation gives us the story of Elder Thakau and his grandson Jacko who must travel across country. They face obstacles along the way including crossing a ‘yati’ or river and building a canoe. Told in English with key words in Apudthama Ikya, this story reminds us to beware of the ‘ikambala’ or crocodile.

The Journey to Injinoo


Author: Original artwork and writing by students from Northern Peninsula Area State College
Literacy facilitator: Dot Walker
Illustration and ICT facilitator: Lynette Griffiths
Editing: Dot Walker
Digital preparation and illustration editing: Lynette Griffiths
Language Support teacher: Mrs Mary Eseli
Animators: Paul Lalo and Jennie Vigaud
Sound artist: Will Kepa

Narrator: Mary Eseli
Thakau: Alfred Mara
Jacko: Dale Salee
Extra: Asai Pablo


Language Glossary

Injinoo       Place, originally called Cowal Creek
Ikambala    Crocodile
Yati            Creek or river
Urruvu        Land goanna
Eerra          Spear
Pana           Friend


1:  Many years ago in the south country a very old man called Thakau and his grandson Jacko set out on a long journey to Injinoo.  They were going to live there with their pana.

Thakau says, ‘Will you help me go on this journey Jacko?’

Jacko says, ‘Yes I will come with you and learn much from you’

2:  Thakau was so old that Jacko had to help him along the way.  As they travelled they saw lots of animals.  One day Jacko speared a urruvu and they cooked it for dinner.

Thakau says, ‘Look a urruvu – use your eerra, quickly Jacko!’

Jacko says, ‘Yes! And then you can show me how to cook it.’

3:  After many days they arrived at the Jardine River.  It was very wide and deep.  Thakau knew he would never be able to swim across because he was so old and tired.

Thakau says, ‘I am much too old to try to cross this yati.’’

Jacko says, ‘Don’t worry – I’ll think of a way.’

4:  Jacko decided to build a canoe that would take them both across the yati to where they could see their friends waiting on the other side.

Jacko says, ‘I want to learn from you Thakau.’

Thakau says, ‘I will sing while you build the canoe and tell you stories.’

5:  When the canoe was finished they started to paddle across the yati.  But… an ikambala swam towards them and began attacking the canoe.

Thakau says, ‘Do something quickly Jacko!’

Jacko says, ‘Where’s my eerra?’

6:  Jacko grabbed his eerra from the bottom of the canoe and speared the ikambala right through the eye.

Thakau says, ‘Well done Jacko! I am proud of you’

7:  Finally they safely reached the other side of the yati where their friends were waiting for them.  Then they all travelled on to Injinoo to live together.

Friend says, ‘Welcome!’

Thakau says, ‘This is my grandson.  He has learnt well’.

Friend says, ‘Now we can all travel safely to Injinoo.’