Maningrida Arts and Culture, NT
Coo-ee Art Gallery, Bondi, NSW
To make fish traps and fish net fences the vine (mirlarl) is collected from the jungle and put into water for one night to make it soft. As they weave, the artists add ‘rings’ from the hibiscus vine (bardainy) on the inside to support the developing shape. String from the kurrajong-burdaga is attached to the hibiscus rings and used to tie the conical end of the fish trap. It can take up to four weeks to construct one fish trap.
This fish trap is used by both saltwater and freshwater hunters. People also use fish net fences called mun-dirra. A long time ago they would put the mun-dirra across rivers and creeks and in the middle they would place the an-gujechiya—the fish trap. They also used small things like sticks, rocks, mud and grass to block the fish and force them to swim into the trap.
People catch fish like saltwater barramundi (rajarra); freshwater barramundi (Janambal); small black freshwater catfish (buliya); bonefish (an-guwirrpiya); and sand bass (dalakan) in these fish traps.
Text by Leon Bandicha AliShare