Fi­nal farewell for NT’s much-loved mu­si­cian

NT News - - NEWS - CHELSEA HEANEY

RAIN clouds loomed fol­low­ing a scorch­ing late morn­ing as crowds con­gre­gated out­side Air Fron­tier’s hangar to say a fi­nal farewell to one of Aus­tralia’s most prom­i­nent mu­si­cians.

A som­bre pub­lic cer­e­mony marked Dr G Yunupingu’s fi­nal mo­ments on main­land Aus­tralia, be­fore he was flown back to his fi­nal rest­ing place on El­cho Is­land fol­low­ing his death in July this year.

Dr G Yunupingu’s fam­ily was there to lead the tra­di­tional cer­e­mony.

His un­cle, Char­lie Yunupingu, said the oc­ca­sion marked an im­por­tant day for the Yol­ngu peo­ple, as Dr G Yunupingu took his first steps on his jour­ney back to his an­ces­tors.

“It is a very special day for us to­day,” he said.

“He took Abo­rig­i­nal and indige­nous peo­ple and taught them how to live and sur­vive.”

Char­lie’s brother and an­other one of Dr G Yunupingu’s un­cles, Johnny Yunupingu, said they were all feel­ing a lot of sad­ness.

“It is feel­ing so sad, such sor­row, our nephew was a very im­por­tant man,” he said.

“Love was his main in­put, the love he showed ev­ery­body.”

Dr G Yunupingu’s grand­mother, Mawuyul Yand­ha­lawuy AM, who also taught him at the Gali­wunki school, said that when the plane ar­rived at the air­port on El­cho Is­land, there would be peo­ple wait­ing cov­ered in ochre to take him along the fi­nal stretch home.

Ms Yand­ha­lawuy said that she would trea­sure Dr G Yunupingu’s songs and his voice.

“He was the best singer, bet­ter than any­one I ever heard, and he sang with his heart, his mind and his soul,” she said.

Fol­low­ing the ar­rival of Dr G Yunupingu at Gali­winku, there will be a week-long pub­lic cer­e­mony com­menc­ing to­day on El­cho Is­land.

Pictures: GLENN CAMP­BELL

Fam­ily and friends of Dr G Yunupingu gather at Dar­win air­port to send the ac­claimed mu­si­cian on his last jour­ney back to El­cho Is­land

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