Merrepen – Dilly bag weaving (2005)

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The Merrepen palm tree is a life source for the people of the Daly River region. On this adventure you will discover the colourful and humorous character of various Aboriginal ladies from the Nauiya community on the Daly River.

A group of traditional women take us into their country to gather the precious Merrepen leaves and berries. Merrepen leaves are striped, dyed with other roots and berries and dried and then intricately hand woven to make incredibly versatile dilly bags and baskets. The ladies develop their masterpieces working together at the Merrepen Arts Centre.

24 minute Documentary
Nganampa Anwernekenhe Series 17
Directed by Steven McGregor
Language: Nga’gikurunggurr with English Subtitles

While gathering the Merrepen leaves the ladies come across a solitary death adder. After swiftly disposing of the potentially dangerous creature the ladies ‘cook it up’ on their campfire.

Narrated by Marrfurra a local Aboriginal woman this documentary takes a simple but strong look into the future of indigenous arts and culture. “There are not enough elders left. That’s why we are painting our stories and making things. That’s why I work with the old people. They teach me and my sisters, aunties and cousins about our culture and traditions” says Marrfurra.

In this landscape lavished with natural beauty we discover the many uses of the Merrepen Palm as well as some unforgettable characters.

Merrepen - Dilly bag weaving (2005) from CAAMA on Vimeo.

DVD available from Ronin Films.

Further clips and teachers notes are available from Australian Screen. If you intend to use this film in the classroom please purchase an educational copy from Ronin Films.

Merrepen Media Release


Director - Steven McGregor
Editor - James Bradley
Camera - Colin Richards
Series Producer - Rachel Clements

Produced in Association with Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association.