Noongar Wonderland

Clint Bracknell (Artist), Paul McDermott (Producer)

Research output: Non-traditional research outputRecorded/rendered creative workpeer-review


This new collection of Noongar-language technicolour dance tracks by Maatakitj (Clint Bracknell) with ARIA award winning Australian music icon Paul Mac first premiered as part of Noongar Wonderland, the multisensory experience by Boomerang and Spear for Perth Festival 2022. These songs cast a neon spotlight on the ecological value of bull-sharks, stingrays, dolphins, bobtail lizards, dragonflies, and groundwater in the southwest of Western Australia. They ‘dare to envisage future songlines that tell of a yet unknown path, both corporeal and metaphysical’ (Julian Tompkin, The Australian).

Honouring the long line of torchbearers and trailblazers who have sustained Noongar song, this is a revolutionary release in an endangered language to mark the beginning of the United Nations International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022–2032).

The music of Noongar Wonderland arrives after more than a decade of critical research and immersion in Noongar song and language, with Bracknell also co-translating ground-breaking works including Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury and Shakespeare’s Macbeth titled ‘Hecate’. Performers Trevor Ryan, Kyle J Morrison, Rubeun Yorkshire, Ebony McGuire, and Ian Wilkes sing with him on Noongar Wonderland and have been key collaborators on these productions.

Meaning ‘long legs like a spear’, Maatakitj is an affectionate nickname for Clint Bracknell, a Noongar musician from the south coast of Western Australia and currently Professor of Indigenous Languages at the University of Queensland. When border restrictions prevented Bracknell from returning home to WA to perform live at Noongar Wonderland, he worked with friend Paul Mac to hone recorded versions of the Noongar songs bristling with kinetic energy. The two had previously co-produced Ripple Effect Band’s debut EP Wárrwarra and lectured popular music together at Sydney Conservatorium.


Yornan (bobtail lizards)

Bobtail lizards mate for life. When they come out of semi-hibernation as the weather warms up, the first thing they do is going running around looking for their lover. This is a love song based on the bobtail lizards.

Kworlak (bullshark)

Bull-sharks swim in from the ocean and up the river into fresh water as the weather gets warmer. No other sharks do this, and the bull-shark has always done it.

Baamba (stingray)

Stingrays hide on the ocean floor and cover themselves with sand. You can sometimes hear them beating the water as they swim.

Dwerdawanard (dolphin)

Dolphins swim in from the ocean and up the river in packs, like dogs playing. Noongar can communicate with them, singing out and hitting the water.

Woordawoort (dragonfly)

Dragonflies hover above the water, keeping their distance from each other. They dance, quickly moving away when they get too close.

Demangka (groundwater)

Groundwater is ancient and nourishes everything above it, an invisible kiss of life beneath our feet. It moves incredibly slowly and rises as lakes and wetlands.
Original languageNoongar
Media of outputOnline
Size30 minutes
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2022
Externally publishedYes

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