In the bush, at the foot of the Grampians, lived people from the Djab-Wurrung and Jardwadjali clans.
This was their traditional country and they had lived in the area for thousands of years.
A father is hunting when he sees a possum. Not only will the family have dinner, but Wawi will make a ball for his son to play with. He uses the skin, some kangaroo sinew and some emu feathers. And so the first football, shaped like an emu egg, is made. Wawi’s son loves to play with the ball, so much so that one day he wanders too far from camp and cannot find his way home. The bush at night is filled with unfamiliar sounds and shapes, just as his mother had warned him. Illustrations mix traditional Aboriginal painting styles with more representational images.
Marngrook is a traditional tale about the ball that went on to be used in developing Australian Rules football. It shares not only the invention of the ball, but something of the traditional life of a particular family group. There are references to other traditional stories, hunting tools, cooking methods and family roles. The reader can follows the main narrative thread and absorb so many other details, almost incidentally. Recommended for junior- to mid-primary readers.
Marngrook: The Long-ago Story of Aussie Rules, Titta Secombe ill Grace Fielding Magabala Books 2012 ISBN: 9781921248443
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author