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the charrnock woman

   Charrnock Woman  Charrnock Woman  Images I Digital animation artist Steven Aiton works with Narrogin Primary School students to recreate the tale of the Charrnock Woman.

This story begins back in the dreamtime. When the Charrnock woman, an evil spirit, would wander from kallep to kallep (campfires), stealing little koolongurs (children). She was very tall, taller than the jarrah trees, with long white hair to catch the spirit children in … so she could free her arms and gather more spirit children. She then fed the kidnapped spirit children to her ‘man’ who dwelled in a cave near Wave Rock.

This story was told during one of the Yarns of the Heart doll making workshops produced by CAN WA in 2011 in the Southern Wheatbelt. It inspired the making of a beautiful Charrnock Woman doll by one of the Noongar women, which was exhibited at the WA Museum in the Yarns of the Heart exhibition in 2011- 2012.

The Charrnock Woman tale was then resurrected as a stop-motion sand animation project with artist Steve Aiton, Year 6 students from Narrogin Primary School and digital media students from Narrogin Senior High School in November 2012.

Using the techniques of sand animation, stop motion animation and blue screen technology, the students recreated the tale, incorporating the actual Charrnock woman doll created during the Yarns of the Heart project.

The content created by the students will be incorporated into a sculptural work by Aboriginal artist Sharyn Egan and the Narrogin community and placed at a women’s site along Gnarojin Creek. The sculpture will incorporate QR code technology, allowing the viewer to watch the animation clips from their smartphone or tablet.

Charrnock Woman Animation from Community Arts Network WA on Vimeo.

Evil Spirit Charrnock Woman Animated in Sand at Narrogin, ArtsHub website, 15 January 2013

Acknowledgement: The Charrnock Woman story derives from a version told by Toogarr Morrison.