Djirri Djirri Wurundjeri Woman’s Dance Group

Dancers include Wurundjeri, Dja Dja wurrung, Ngurai illum-wurrung
Formed in 2013

The Djirri Djirri Wurundjeri Women’s Dance Group is the only female dance group entirely made up of Wurundjeri descendants. Djirri Djirri means Willy Wagtail in Woiwurrung, the language of Wurundjeri people, who are the Traditional Owners of Greater Melbourne and surrounds. The Djirri Djirri dancers are all related by blood through one Wurundjeri descendant, Annie Borate, the sister of Aboriginal leader, artist and activist William Barak.

The Djirri Djirri Wurundjeri Women’s Dance Group was officially formed in 2013 by founding member Mandy Nicholson who has continued as the lead singer and songwriter of the group. The dancers of the group are Dharna Nicholson-Bux, Ky-ya Nicholson-Ward, Stacie Piper, Sue-Anne Hunter, Samantha Piper, Mikayla George, Kiera Hunter, Hailey George, Melissa Kerr, Nanjera Pender and Bella Cameron-Dukes; and younger members; Djirra Pender, Jedda Pedden, Laila Cameron-Dukes, Fenna Piper, and our two littlest dancers, Azalea Cameron-Dukes and Kiah Hunter.

The women and children go through ceremony before learning
dances to songs sung in their Mother Tongue—the Woiwurrung
language. These dances and songs are from their Creation stories
and are created to honour their Liwik (Ancestors), Kerr-up-non
(Family), Biik (Country) and Animals (Spirit Protectors).

Our dances are created to honour our Liwik (Ancestors),
Kerr-up-non (Family), Biik (Country) and animals.
This dance, the ‘djirri djirri’ honours the spirit bird who gave us
dance. The movements represent the passing on of cultural
knowledge from one generation to the next.
Spirit’s messenger, willy wagtail, brings us this dance from long ago.
He tells us to dance proud, to renew many dances, we paint our
bodies to dance.
We danced yesterday, we embrace many dances today.