Raymond 'Nunka' Walker

Listen to the stories of Raymond 'Nunka' Walker who is a holder of cultural song and dance in southeast Queensland.

My cousin come down, he was talking about a girl that he really, really likes. And we sat down, and we said, “We’ll sing them love songs, hey?”, “Alright.”, “Well, picture her. Picture her, show me what she looks like,” I said.

I said, “I know who you’re talking about,” so I pictured her too. So, I’m picturing her and we’re singing the song, singing the song, singing the love song. Then when we’d done it for about a half an hour, and we were picturing her and then we were resting, and while we were resting, that girl come to our house, and she was out the front yard, at the front gate, singing out for that cousin now.

And she come to the front gate, and she sung out, “Is he there?” “Yes, he’s here.” They went off together. She ended up having, I think, two or three children to him. They got together strong. But then they had a falling out. I don’t know, then they split up.

But them old men, they always said, “If you go and sing someone, you’ve got to keep singing them. You shouldn’t sing womans, because if you sing them, you’ve got to keep singing them, otherwise, that magic wears off, and then you lose them.” They realise they’ve been sung, and they won’t want to be with you. Then sometimes you can sing them too strong, and they be humbugging you when you don’t want them to humbug you anymore. And they’re still coming around humbugging you and you go, “I don’t want to be with you no more.” It’s too late. You’ve already sung them.

19 September 2018

At Maleny, [a] big storm coming and we was all a bit worried. I remember this business that an old woman used to do, she would sing out to the rain cloud, or the storm cloud, in language, and then an axe would go in the ground, so you can split the storm. To me it’s singing out and requesting for that to happen, so singing out in language, cursing the cloud in language, and then axing the ground so your mental image is seeing the axe going in the ground, but splitting that storm cloud so it could go around you.

So we done that and I’m looking at it, thinking maybe I wasn’t singing strong enough. I sung a couple of songs after it and I got someone to go and get another axe. They went and got another axe and I done it again, really strong, and sung some songs too, to cement that. No good the storm split once here, and then it split there too and you could see where the axes were, it looked like the two splits were there in the storm. It was tricky, it looked tricky too.

They’re all going “How did you do that, you’re magic”. I said “No, I’m not magic, I just sung out to ask for it to happen, it’s just a request, it’s like a prayer. I can’t split storms, I’m not magic man”. That’s what people got to realise, them old fellas that sung those songs to do the storms, or to do anything, to heal people, to catch people. It’s not magic, all it is, is a request. It’s just like a prayer, like what we’ve learnt through the Christian faith, and you go to church and you pray, same with the songs. The songs is a prayer. You’re sending a prayer of what you want to happen, and then your prayer is answered. People look at you as if you’re magic or something. You’re not magic, you just said a prayer and your prayer got answered.

19 September 2018
photo Mick Richards 2018