Warning: This resource may contain references to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may have passed away.


[Episode 26 | Before Time : Barangaroo]

Barangaroo and her friends are warned not to go near Mumuga country, and they discuss the nature of the Mumuga. To cheer up Mung they decide to host a cook-up. Barangaroo and Mani have a dance-off  to see who is the most worthy to carry the spear.


The Australian curriculum: English

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The Australian Curriculum: English aims to ensure that students:

  • learn to listen to, read, view, speak, write, create and reflect on increasingly complex and sophisticated spoken, written and multimodal texts across a growing range of contexts with accuracy, fluency and purpose
  • appreciate, enjoy and use the English language in all its variations and develop a sense of its richness and power to evoke feelings, convey information, form ideas, facilitate interaction with others, entertain, persuade and argue
  • understand how Standard Australian English works in its spoken and written forms and in combination with non-linguistic forms of communication to create meaning
  • develop interest and skills in inquiring into the aesthetic aspects of texts, and develop an informed appreciation of literature.

English activities [2]

Activity 1: Culture
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Subtheme(s): Beliefs; Customs and traditions; Indigenous perspectives
  • Prior to watching this clip, have students research the importance of dance as part of Indigenous cultures. Some useful websites include:
  1. ABC, Indigenous Arts and Events, 'Performance', www.abc.net.au/indigenous/arts_events/PERFORMANCE.htm
  2. Australia.gov.au, 'Australian Indigenous Ceremony - Song, Music and Dance', australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/austn-indigenous-ceremony
  3. Oz Outback, 'Dances and Ceremonies from Indigenous Australia', ozoutback.com.au/Australia/videos.html
  • Consider dance as part of a holistic Indigenous knowledges framework:
          Education Queensland: The Arts, 'Indigenous Perspectives in The Arts - Dance', www.learningplace.com.au/deliver/content.asp?pid=28643
  • Extracts of dance scenes from such films as Ten Canoes (2006) and filmed productions from the Bangarra Dance Theatre could be used as examples: 
  1. Bangarra Dance Theatre, 'Vision', www.bangarra.com.au/About/Vision.aspx
  2. Ten Canoes, www.tencanoes.com.au/tencanoes/
  • Stories from the Yolngu people of Ramingining in the northern part of central Arnhem Land are featured on the following website:
          Twelve Canoes, www.12canoes.com.au/ 
  • There is a map showing Ramingining on the 'Where in the World' page of this website. You can navigate to it from 'About Us'. For this group, consider dance within ceremony and how it fits with all aspects of life - land, environment, language, culture and relationships.
  • Watch the clip Dance off from Episode 26 | 1778 : Before Time: Barangaroo and focus students' attention on the performance. Ask students the following questions:
  1. Which three animal movements did Barangaroo mimic?
  2. Which animal movements did Mani try to mimic?
  3. What are three other animals they could have tried to use in the dance?
  • Ask students to research information from your local Indigenous language group (or dance group if there is one available), or from another particular region, in response to the questions below.
  1. How is dance important to the life and culture of the group? How is it connected to the land, the environment and relationships between people? 
  2. What are some of the stimulus ideas for dance movements and choreography for this group?
  3. What other preparation is involved in terms of dressing up and/or social organisation of the group/s?
  4. What are the roles and responsibilities of people and their relationships to dance within the group?
  5. Which ceremonies involve dances and who is able to share, know and learn about these?
  • Be sure to reinforce that it is not appropriate to recreate Indigenous images, movements or music as they could have particular spiritual significance that is not appropriate to share. It is also important for students to create what they know rather than seeking it elsewhere.

  • Ask students to work in groups of three. Ask each group to create a dance mimicking three different Australian animals from your local area or beyond that have some significance for the students. Students should observe the movements of the selected animals and practise the movements for them. Each set of movements should be repeated three times in a sequence. In preparation, ask students to develop an instruction sheet on how to perform their dance. Refer students to Student Activity Sheet E26.1: Culture. Students could create their own backing music for the dance.
  • Host a dance-off for the class where each group performs their dance based on the three sequences of the animals they selected. The rest of the class can guess which animals are mimicked. The group can invite the rest of the class to learn and practise the dance with them.
  • The students may use costumes and body decoration for added impact.


Activity 2: Stories of Mumuga
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Subtheme(s): Beliefs; Customs and traditions; Indigenous perspectives
  • As a class, view the clip and focus attention on the conversation between Wiyanga and the children, particularly when she tells them to stay away from the Mumuga. As a class, brainstorm all of the different types of stories and lessons students learn from their grandparents, parents, other family and important people in their lives. These could be oral histories about the family or individuals within it, lessons on morals and values, religious stories about spirituality, or practical lessons about cooking, making or fixing things, or looking after each other. 
  • Have students focus on the conversation between the children about the powers of the Mumuga. Refer students to Student Activity Sheet E26.2: Stories of Mumuga and ask them to respond to the following questions:
  1. What do the children think the Mumuga can do with its claws?
  2. What can it do with its teeth?
  3. What about it smells really bad?
  4. What can this smell do to its victims?
  5. What does it do to bodies while they're still warm?

  • Focus attention on the conversation between Mung and Barangaroo, when Mung asks if the Mumuga took his mum. This question develops the understanding that the Mumuga is dangerous and to be feared. Ask students to imagine their own feared animal or monster. Ask students to write a children's story as an imaginative text or as a graphic story. For examples of children's books, refer to the work of Shaun Tan as an example of a graphic novel and Mem Fox as an example of repetitive text for a children's story. And importantly, find examples of Indigenous children's books and discuss their illustrations and stories.
  1. Austral Ed, 'Children's Books - Books about Australian Indigenous Peoples',
  2. ABC TV, 'Us Mob', www.abc.net.au/usmob/
  • Ask students to draw what they think the Mumuga looks like. The illustration should be labelled with all the horrifying features that Barangaroo and the children talk about.
  • Refer students to Student Activity Sheet E26.2: Stories of Mumuga.


Student Activity Sheet E26.2: Stories of Mumuga

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