Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories

Here are select dreamtime stories from Aboriginal Australia:

Creation Story

All over Australia, Dreaming stories tell of the ancestor spirits who created the land and everything on it. This story, from the Ngiyaampaa of western New South Wales, tells how the Darling River was created, long ago.

Read the Creation Story here.

Eaglehawk and Crow

Long ago, many of the birds and animals were in human form. This story is about two warriors from the Ngiyaampaa people of western New South Wales. It is told for us here by Aunty Beryl Carmichael.

Read Eaglehawk and Crow here.

Emu and the Jabiru

From the Marrkula clan in Arnhem Land comes this story of greed between two brothers-in-law and the creation of the Emu and the Jabiru. It also offers an insight into the life of the Gapuwiayk people.

Read Emu and the Jabiru here.

Emu and the Jabiru Story Explanation

Arnhem Land, in the Northern Territory, is rich in Dreaming stories, art and dance. Here, Bangana Wunungmurra explains some of the background to Aboriginal, or Yolngu, life. He also discusses the importance of land within Yolngu culture and of the role that education plays in encouraging respect for other cultures.

Read the Explanation of Emu and the Jabiru here.


One of the younger storytellers featured on the site, Warren Foster, tells the story behind the creation of two mountains and an island. Warren is from the Yuin-Monaro people, on the far south coast of New South Wales and the main mountain-Gulaga-holds deep significance for his people.

Read the story of Gulaga here.

How the water got to the plains

When travelling through the arid regions of Australia, Aboriginal people would move from waterhole to waterhole. The Butchulla people of Fraser Island have a story that tells how the water first got to the plains, and it is told for us here by Olga Miller.

Discover how the water got to the plains here.

How the water got to the plains story explanation

Olga Miller and her sister first heard the Dreaming stories of her people – the Butchulla – on Fraser Island, off the Queensland coast. Here she gives the background to the tale of how fresh water first reached the arid plains of central Queensland, and recalls childhood holidays by the beaches and rainforest of Fraser Island.

Read how the water got to the plan explanation here.

Illawarra and the five islands

When Koala, Starfish and Whale were still people, they shared an island together. But a shortage of food led to a fight between them. Barry Moore tells the story to a group of children and adults participating in one of his Bush Tours.

Read Illawarra and the five islands here.

Koockard (Goanna)

When two young boys go camping by the river with their Uncle, they learn more than they bargained for. With a twist in its tail, the story of Koockard, the river Goanna, comes from western New South Wales and is told for us here by Aunty Beryl Carmichael. This is a story of the Ngiyaampaa people.

Read Koockard here.

Min-na-wee (Why the crocodile rolls)

Peace and harmony are essential in any community. Find out what happens when someone is determined to cause trouble. The story of Min-Na-Wee and why the crocodile rolls contains a powerful message for youngsters about the effects of their behaviour on others.

Rean Min-na-wee here.

Min-na-wee Story Explanation

Frank Martin’s grandfather, Jiller-rii, knew a great deal about ‘traditional’ Aboriginal life. He knew where to find kangaroos and turkeys and he also passed on his Dreaming stories. Here, Frank Martin gives us the background to the story of Min-Na-Wee and why the crocodile rolls. The story is from the GWINI people who come from the Broome area in Western Australia.

Read Min-na-wee explanation here.

Red Waratah

Barry Moore conducts bushwalks, bush tucker tours and storytelling at Wreck Bay on the south coast of New South Wales. This dreatime story was filmed around the campfire, with a group of children and adults. The story tells of a time when all the Waratahs were white and how they became red, back in the Dreamtime.

Read Red Waratah here.

The Two Wise Men And the Seven Sisters

A creation story from the WONG-GU-THA, people of the desert near Ooldea, South Australia. Discover how the hills and valleys, the rivers and oceans were made and how the earth was beautified. Find out why the desert people have such respect for the stars and the universe.

Read The Two Wise Men and the Seven Sisters here.

The Two Wise Men and the Seven Sisters story explanation

Many Dreaming stories are associated with specfic objects and landmarks. For Josie Boyle, there is a real sadness that the landscape around the area where the Seven Sisters spent their time on Earth has been changed so drastically. A reminder of the importance of storytelling in keeping the culture alive.

Read the Explanation of The Two Wise Men and the Seven Sisters here.


In this story from the lower River Murray area of South Australia, two fishermen are delighted with their huge catch of fish. The trouble begins when they refuse to share it. A cautionary tale about greed, from the Ngarrindjeri people.

Read Thukeri here.

Thukeri story explanation

Veena Gollan is active in keeping alive the Dreaming stories of the Ngarrindjeri people of Lake Alexandrina, South Australia. Here she gives us the background to the Thukeri story and outlines the importance of teaching the stories in schools.

Read the Thukeri story explanation here.

Toonkoo and Ngaardi

A creation dreamtime story from the Yuin-Monaro people of the far south coast of New South Wales. Warren Foster relates how the rivers and creeks were formed, where the boomerang originated and the origin of the red waratah. The Yuin-Monaro people operate a cultural centre near Narooma and this story was filmed nearby, on the shores of Wallaga Lake.

Read Toonkoo and Ngaardi here.


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.

Read Unbarra here.

Why the stories are told

By Warren Foster

The YUIN-MONARO people have lived on the far south coast of New South Wales for thousands of years. Today, there is a Koori Village and Cultural centre based around Wallaga Lake. Warren Foster wants to keep his culture alive and here he explains the significance of dreamtime storytelling. Warren represents the next generation of storytellers, passing on the stories of his people.

Read Why the stories are told by Warren Carmichael here.

Why the stories are told

By Aunty Beryl Carmichael

Aunty Beryl Carmichael comes from Ngiyaampaa country in western New South Wales. She is a custodian of many Ngiyaampaa stories and incorporates these into her work at Broken Hill and Menindee, where she runs camps for Aboriginal youngsters. Here she talks about the importance of storytelling in educating Aboriginal children.

Read Why the stories are told by Aunty Beryl Carmichael here.