Kombumerri Traditional Custodian Contributor: Uncle Graham Dillon OAM

This resource is related to the following Learning Area –

And responds to the following Enquiry Question –

Q43.What was the importance of yarning and yarning circles?

Resource transcript –

Yes, I see it. The parallel here is with the mainstream people. A classic example would be Country Woman’s Association. My aunty was in the Country Woman’s Association of Queensland. What were they all about? Women’s business. They’d play bowls and croquet and all that sort of social events. But, it was women’s business. Yarning and yarning circles… I also had a feeling within my spirit that if a man goes into a yarning circle… what’s his reason? Can’t he stay at home and have a yarn with his woman? Which happens all the time probably. But, this is like going to an exclusive club. A yarning circle for men, right? And, so, I had a thought, what the heck would they talk about? What would they talk about? They’d talk about men’s business and… family business that they need some wisdom to help navigate that problem. Women would be the same. Yarning circles. A woman sits down there with all of her women associates. They need not necessarily be friends but the idea would be I must ask somebody, I’ve got a problem. Who can I help? Who can I rely on? Who can I trust? It’s private. Yarning circle. I know. I’ll unload or I’ll ask the woman or in this case the man, men’s yarning circles, how to solve a problem. Now that’s a social problem there. But yarning circles, also, give a man a chance to explore his talents. He might be just learning to be a carpenter and he gets in with that circle of men and you might have a professional carpenter, painter, somebody like that. He might need, through that yarning circle, that extra bit of talent or expertise from out of that yarning circle. Easy. Cost nothing, as far as I know. The same would apply to a woman. Her problems… and this is woman’s business and I can’t talk women’s business, but the parallel is there for them to want to go and have their binangs. The binangs would be open now, listening to how to resolve a woman’s problem. She can’t do it at home. She can’t talk to her husband. He wouldn’t understand. Perhaps. So, I’ll go to a woman whom I can trust. Presumably. So, here it is, the privacy. It’s all about privacy too. I’ll go that group of women, Yilgahn, walal Yilgahn, I will go to them and say, “Look, I have a little problem. Can anyone help me?” Like going into a little school. Hands up. “Yes, I have this problem with my husband” or, “I have this problem with my children. They’ve gone off the rails. I’ve tried everything. What’s the answer?” Now, I think, presumably, as a human being, as a man, that is what the… way they would go. They would explore the avenue of how to resolve a problem that you can’t talk about at home. Yarning circles. Men and women.