Cultural foundation of the Yidaki in Northeast Arnhem Land

  • Randin Christopher Graves

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    The didjeridu, or yiaki as it is commonly known in northeast Arnhem Land, is a musical instrument that originated in the far north of Australia, but since European contact has developed into a widely recognized symbol for the whole of Australia and a tool of self-expression for many throughout the world. Many Aboriginal People have expressed concern about the instrument's spread out of their control and without understanding or respect for its traditional origins. Some, such as those behind the 1999 Garma Festival Yidaki Statement, have called for a new relationship between the instrument's founders and those who have appropriated the instrument for commercial or other purposes. But little
    has been done by either side to create this relationship. This project has sought to open a channel of communication between the Yolr)u of northeast Arnhem Land and non-Aboriginal didjeridu players. Perceptions and opinions of a sampling of didjeridu enthusiasts on the internet were collected for presentation to Yolu so that responses could be formulated and presented. Yolr) u ollaborated in a process to determine what of their knowledge to share and how to present it. This thesis describes this process and its results -- Milkayrju Munur)gurr's instructional audio CD I-lard Tongue Didgeridoo and a comprehensive website at to reach out from the origins to the many new users of the yiaki around the world.
    Date of AwardJun 2006
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMichael Christie (Supervisor)

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