The Seven Sisters Captured By Wajarri-Noongar Artist Christine ‘Jugarnu’ Collard

For indigenous Australians the star cluster Pleiades in the constellation Taurus is known as the Seven Sisters. Stories described them as a group of young women being pursued by unwanted male attention.

Wajarri-Noongar artist Christine ‘Jugarnu’ Collard’s artwork Seven Jijas (sisters) is a feature of the coins design. Indigenous Australians were the first astronomers and have long used the stars as maps.

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The Yamaji people of the Murchison region in Western Australia, refer to the Seven Sister stars as Nyarluwarri in the Wajarri language. When Nyarluwarri sits low on the horizon at sunset, the people know that emu eggs are ready for harvesting. Yamaji people use the stars to also predict seasonal rainfall by observing how bright or faded the star cluster is at certain times of the year.

The songline of the seven sisters fleeing to the sky to escape a man who wants to take one as his wife, is frequently depicted in Aboriginal paintings.

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3 September 2020
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