SandSong: Stories from the Great Sandy Desert tells the unique story of the Kimberley and Great Sandy Desert regions, and the survival of its People.

Between the 1920s and 1960s, many Aboriginal people were removed from their Country and onto pastoral stations where they were forced into hard labour, usually for no wages and only minimal rations. Despite this displacement and cultural disruption, the Traditional Peoples of the Western Desert have maintained unbroken connection to Country – keeping songs, stories, kinship and lore strong.

This is the Country of Wangkatjungka woman Ningali Josie Lawford-Wolf (1967–2019), a close cultural collaborator of Bangarra, whose spirit, stories and artistic contributions have inspired a number of the company’s works and enriched the broader arts landscape.



The Kimberley is home to the Wangkatjungka and Walmajarri people, where the ancient knowledge of People and of Country is preserved through Songlines that have endured for hundreds of generations.

At the heart of this land is Jila – the Living Water – that resides in desert waterholes across the region and is the basis of cultural beliefs and practices.



  • Geological origins of the Kimberley region reach back nearly 2000 million years.
  • The Wangkatjungka people have lived in the desert of Western Australia for over forty thousand years, living a nomadic life knowing they could always retreat to their sacred waterholes.
  • There are 16 smoke machines in the show.
  • One litre of gold paint is used per show.
  • It takes around 10 hours to handmake a coolamon skirt (used in Act 2, Parranga).



The development of a new work is a process of typically 3-4 years commencing with a period on Country spending time with Indigenous Elders. At the end of a work’s life cycle, once it has been realised and performed to audiences all over Australia, we return the work to be performed on Country, in thanks and acknowledgement of the reciprocal relationship between the story and Country. Find out more about our Creative Life Cycle.