Umbarra

This next story is about Umbarra the Black Duck, which is the totem of the Yuin nation.

Back in the old days, when the people used to live around here, a lad named Merriman had his totem called Umbarra the Black Duck. Umbarra warned Merriman everywhere he went of the danger. How he did it was he fluttered. The Black Duck fluttered and he dived down into the water and made splashes. When Merriman, the old man, saw that bird doing that, he knew that there was danger coming.

One day, all the tribe was out getting a feed of fish, bimbullas and djungas. Merriman spotted Umbarra and he was going off his head. He was diving in the water, splashing about, ruffling his feathers up and so Merriman knew there was some people coming.

He told all the people to get all the women and children. He put them in the canoes and he sent them out to the island, Merriman’s Island. All the women and children, and the Elders, went out there.

All the warriors were around the lakeside waiting for these other fellas. They were coming here to steal the women. The night came and those fellas came. They were sneaking up and, as they were getting nearer, the Black Duck he warned the people. When they came and tried to go to the island where all the people were, all the warriors on there kept them off from invading that land and taking the women.

That’s why we’re still here today, because Umbarra the Black Duck saved us.

Toonkoo and Ngaardi

This first story I’m going to tell you is about the Dreamtime. It’s about creation of Toonkoo and Ngaardi.

When Darama, the Great Spirit, came down to the earth, he made all the animals and the birds. He gave them all their names. He also made Toonkoo and Ngaardi.

One day, Toonkoo said to Ngaardi that he’d go out hunting. He went out hunting kangaroos and emus, while Ngaardi stayed home and got some bush tucker. She was waiting and waiting, but Toonkoo never came home.

She started worrying. Then she started crying and as the tears ran down her face, she made the rivers and creeks come down that mountain.

She waited there all day for him to come back with the food, but he never came back.

As Toonkoo was out there hunting, he chucked a spear and got a kangaroo. Then he walked a bit further and he looked up and saw Darama, the Great Spirit, up the sky, watching him. He chucked a spear up to the sky, up to hit Darama, but Darama caught it, bent it and chucked it back. As it cane back it turned into a boomerang. That’s how we got our boomerang.

He was out hunting and he was still wild with Darama, so Darama took him away and put him in the moon. As the moon was coming up, Ngaardi was still crying. As she saw the moon coming up over the horizon, over the sea, she looked up into the full moon and there she saw her man, Toonkoo.

She went to the mountain and she laid down. She said to herself that if ever he should come back, I’ll leave my heart on the mountain for him to find. Today, her heart is the red flower called the Waratah.