Emerarra: A Man of Merarra
Magabala Books $16.95 pb, 201 pp
Merarra is the local name for the land near Walcott Inlet in the far north-west region of Western Australia where saltwater meets freshwater, coastland meets inland. And the ‘man from Merarra’ was the last ‘full’ speaker of the local, Unggumi language, a senior lawman and famous Kimberley stockman called Billy Munro, or, in his native tongue, Morndi.
It’s a saltwater name in Unggumi and Wororra. I’m just about saltwater myself. I’m Morndi, the saltwater mirage. I came to my father as a vision. He caught sight of me out of the corner of his eye. I was a little human in the saltwater mirage walking towards him, calling out, ‘I’m Morngingali ... ’