Blog

Dreamtime on the Derbarl Yerrigan

11 June, 2019

An unusually chilly January evening greeted us all as we waited on jetty 5 at Barrack Square prior to boarding this most unique craft.

Is this a building or a boat my guest asked as we were greeted by a young female deckhand and a more experienced and windswept captain? Alannah & Justin were our crew this evening, they made the boarding experience welcoming and efficient as they counted us onboard for the inaugural “Dreamtime on the Derbarl Yerrigan” as a part of Fringe World 2019.

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This multi-levelled vessel is quite surprising as you enter for the first time, I was not sure what to expect and was pleasantly surprised to find an elegant well-appointed lower deck with dance floor and bar area, alas not for us this evening as our show was about to begin and it was being held on the upper deck so up the steps we hustled.
Seating upstairs for this performance was theatre style, music from Yothu Yindi was playing in the background as we quickly found some comfy seats and settled down. I later discovered that 73 tickets had been sold for this performance and everyone one of them was in attendance. Our audience consisted of some school-aged children with their parents, a few teenagers, quite a few more mature aged patrons and a few who looked like Fringe World was their thing.

The gangway had now been removed and Alannah had all ropes untied so it was time to depart on our journey into Dreamtime. Justin gave us a safety briefing explaining the procedure in case of an emergency but assured as we won’t be needing any of that tonight! Fiona served me a nice cold beer from the bar and a glass of bubbles for my guest.

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A small stage area had been set up with a few tapping sticks, coolamons, boomerangs and hand-made rugs as Meg McGuire welcomed us to tonight’s performance, explained some house rules (no videos and no flash photography) and then introduced her husband Walter onto the stage.
Elizabeth Quay passed out the windows as Walter welcomed us to the land of the Whadjuk people in his native Noongyar tongue, talked about his childhood growing up in Perth, the influence his parents and recognised elders had on himself and siblings and the importance of culture, language and customs passed down from generations.
An hour quickly past and we had been taken back in time, stories about the Wagyl, Karrgatup (king’s park), the execution of Midgegooroo and the murder of his son Yagan and the captivating Dreamtime story of the emu & the milky way.

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Living by the six seasons, secret men’s business (which is still a secret to me), secret women’s business, sacred grounds, the location of burial grounds and the tradition of “door knocking” or lighting a fire as you arrive into new territory were all told in his quiet, unassuming and often humorous way.
Walter is a natural storyteller, his understanding of the lands in which we live, Perth’s ancient past and the interruption/invasion/settling of this land some 200 years ago comes across with deep reverence for his ancestors and their suffering. Walter explains we need to discuss and discover our past and only then can we progress into the future.

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This show is not a history lesson or a lecture but just a descendant of traditional tribal clans passing down stories and knowledge, just like his ancestors have done for many thousands of years on this spot where I am standing now.

WHAT MY CLIENTS SAY

  • Thanks heaps for all your help with the year 11 river cruise! The event went very well and all the students thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Thanks for being EXTREMELY accommodating with all the requests coming through and providing a night of memories for the students. You guys make a great team, and provide exceptional service before and during the event, which makes it even more memorable on our behalf as you made it easy for planning purposes at our end.
    Steven
    VET Teacher Year 11 Coordinator
  • Remastone would like to thank you for providing such a great service, this event was made very easy and we are thankful you could pull this off in such a short time.

    Rema
    Sales Administrator
  • Hi Patsy,

    Ensure all the Staff and Peter receives my sincere thanks. We have been discussing and think it’s the best Christmas Party we have had in 10 years, and we know how to party!

    Staff were great and gave it a nice relaxing feeling. Everyone had a blast.

    Cheers
    Chad Hood
    Director
  • I held a corporate dinner event on the Crystal Swan in late Oct 2017 and can say the event far exceeded our expectations. From the planning stages, through to set-up and finally service/catering at the event - we were impressed! The staff and crew are wonderful, the food is not your typical "boat" food (so don't be afraid!) and the boat itself is really quite unique and allows fantastic views to the city and surrounds. I would book with Crystal Swan again and recommend them as a venue option no questions asked. Thanks again Patty, Tam, Peter, Skipper & crew!

    Jae Eve
    Executive Assistant to CEO NAFDA Limited