Australia’s Traditional Owners have many wonderful Creation and Dreamtime stories that form the basis of customary laws and traditions.
On our travels throughout Australia, Janet-Planet and I seek out these stories as they provide a fascinating insight to the local area, often the prominent land topography, and importantly, aboriginal culture.
Ahead of this week’s hike on Hinchinbrook Island I came across one such story as related by a Traditional Owner from the Girramay people. The Girramay come from the lands surrounding Cardwell, in Queensland and this story is common to a number of groups in the region.
A great story to kick-off my hike with!
“An old, old story from long time ago…
Girugarr, we call that bloke the first surveyor, he named all the country, he come from across the sea, we don’t know where he came from. He look like man on top and he got long tail like an eel.
Girugarr comes from across the sea and he stop there on Palm Island, his first foot print is there at Mundy Bay.
The earth was hot and when he put his foot down there was a little bit of splash on the mud, it’s on a rock over there.
He speaks to the old people there, growls at them, “what are you doing?”
Girugarr comes up the channel.
When he comes through the sea up to Hinchinbrook Island there are no waves in that sea. He finds all the old people cutting a candle nut tree down and he asks them what are they doing.
They’re telling him in Guwal, the traditional language, “we are cutting this tree down to find witchetty grub”.
In Guwal the tree is called gabura.
The sea was calm.
That gabura tree it stand up tall and when it falls down into the water it creates waves for the first time…”
Thanks to Marcia, a Traditional Owner, for sharing a part of this wonderful dreamtime story from long time ago.
If there are waves on the passage as I cross to Hinchinbrook Island I will be able to reflect on the dreamtime story of the Girramay people – how good is that, hey.
Photos: Baz – The Landy, Cardwell, Far North Queensland…!