Songlines of the Western Desert

Songlines of the Western Desert. Alive with the Dreaming!

A cutting edge cross-cultural collaborative and inter-disciplinary research project between the Martu, Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara peoples and the national cultural heritage institutions of the Australian National University and the National Museum of Australia.

Inspired by Nganyinytja OAM

Kulilaya, ngura milmilpatjara; Tjukurpa alatjitu!

Listen this land is sacred; Alive with the Dreaming!

The vision is to increase national recognition and understanding of Indigenous Songlines as complex pathways of spiritual, ecological, economic, cultural and ontological knowledge. A radically new approach to the integration of Indigenous and western knowledge in understanding and managing our shared cultural and natural environments.

Seven Sisters Songline, by Josephine Mick, Pipalyatjara, 1994

Seven Sisters Songline, by Josephine Mick, Pipalyatjara, 1994.

Indigenous songlines have mapped the presence of Ancestral Beings in the land long before European colonizers drew their state line boundaries across the Australian Desert. The focus of this project will be on the creation ancestors: Ngintaka or Perentie Lizard and Kungkarangalpa or Seven Sisters. Their journeys connect the people and their land, the animals they hunt, the foods they gather, the life giving waterholes, their related languages and kinship structures. These songlines travel a region of 486,000 square kilometres in the remote tri-State cross-border area of Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

For more information about the project see:



Updated:  2 May 2017/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications