74 COVID-19 No2: Where did it come from?

Maratja Dhamarrandji, Nikunu Yunupingu, and Richard Trudgen discuss the coronavirus.

Maratja says he understands it’s a serious killer disease, particularly for people with Chronic disease or who are elderly.

He explains that many Yolngu want to know how it began and where it comes from. They want the “dhuḏi-dhäwu” – the deep full foundational story about the disease.

Richard talks about how the virus started in Wuhan Province in China and was transferred from bats to humans.

Nikunu asks if it’s from eating and sharing animal meat. Richard explains that it’s not from eating bats but moves from bats to people when they are very close to each other. This happens in places like large Chinese markets where wild and live animals are sold and there are also lots of people, sometimes living closely together.

Richard describes how there are many different sorts of wild and domestic animals in cages in the markets, as well as many dead animals. This can involve cooking and cutting up a big variety of animals and sometimes there might be thousands of animals in the market kept as pets or for food. This is because many of these animals are considered very valuable in China or are thought to have special medical characteristics. So people can make a good income by selling them.

Richard explains that scientists say the coronavirus originally comes from bats. He talks about the word ‘virus’ and the gakal (size, colour, shape) of this one. He explains that viruses are smaller than bacteria and can be transferred by mucus from bats to people. He points out that it’s a new virus, so even the scientists are still discovering what it is and how it works.


There are 4 Stories in this podcast. Please see time stamps below:


  • Story No. 1 Coronavirus – where did it come from?      0:00
  • Story No. 2  Waanga Animal Market China     9:55
  • Story No. 3  Corona Virus from bats in animal markets 19:50
  • Story No. 4  Transmission from animals to humans 29:44


Click on the links below to listen to the other podcasts in our COVID-19 series: 

Please note: Podcasts 1 & 2 are not currently available online due to the unfortunate death of one of our presenters.