Radio manager Percy Bishop was lying down staring at the stars when Mama Lorraine quietly called him over and asked: “You got that recorder thing?”
Lorraine then spoke to more than 20 people around a campfire for several hours in her hypnotic, low-register voice.
Everyone was captivated as she told how 60 years ago as an 11-year-old girl she ran away from a promised marriage.
It took her two weeks to find her way home to Umbakumba.
She talked of the wind talking and the quiet spirits in the night guiding her home, even coming across the legendary Hairy Man, which scared her listeners as she described him vividly.
There were “oohs” and “ahhs” coming from everyone as she spoke.
The recording is one of many fascinating stories collected over the past 10 and played on rotation in the evenings on both radio stations on Groote Eylandt.
Lorraine has since passed away, so Percy gained permission from her family to play the recording.
“I remember her smiling gently one day as she sat listening to herself on radio telling her story.
The radio stations broadcast through Umbakumba 106.3FM and Angurugu Radio 102.9FM.
Use of the Anindilyakwa language is always encouraged.
Broadcaster Amethea Mamarika, a strong young woman, negotiates English with difficulty but is still a dominant personality on radio.
She works with Percy in delivering daily bulletins about how to stay safe during the coronavirus crisis.
Groote radio has conducted daily interviews with community members and service providers, plus Governor General Quinton Bryce, three Chief Ministers and Federal and Territory politicians. Senior girls from Umbakumba School broadcast a weekly show called Alyamundamanja Girls Rock and local and national weather updates, all the time quietly building confidence as they continue to walk in both worlds.