Traditionally when a turtle or dugong was caught a ceremony took place that involved the animal being left on the beach overnight. Turtles were placed on the back of their shells to prevent them from escaping back into the water.
If a full moon was experienced at this time it was believed that the moon’s rays would penetrate the flesh and spoil the meat. In order to prevent this happening a rock was placed on the belly of the turtle or dugong. This rock or Kula was sourced from one of the inland creeks.
Mard means meat and Garutherik means protection so Mard Garutherik means protecting the meat from the moon’s rays.
The full moon is depicted at the top of the print and its rays travelling down to the turtle’s shell where the pale central section represents the protective rock or Kula.