Why the stories are told

My name is Beryl Carmichael and my traditional name is Yungha-dhu.

I belong to the Ngiyaampaa people, come from the Ngiyaampaa nation and the area we’re in now belongs to Eaglehawk and Crow.

I’m a storyteller as well and all the stories have been handed down to me by my people. I am now custodian of about twenty-eight stories.

The stories are a wonderful and a valuable tool, an education tool in teaching our children. The ‘Dreamtime’ stories as they are referred to today, we didn’t know that there was such names for them. Because when the old people would tell the stories, they’d just refer to them as ‘marrathal warkan’ which means long, long time ago, when time first began for our people, as people on this land after creation.

We have various sites around in our country, we call them the birthing places of all our stories. And of course, the stories are embedded with the lore that governs this whole land. The air, the land, the environment, the universe, the stars.

The stories that we are passing and talking on today, we are hoping that, some way, it will help our people-and our children, our young people in particular-to get a better understanding about the lore that governs our lives today.

No matter what we do, there is always guidance there for us and the guidance comes through in the stories. And the direction that we are giving to our young people on how we expect them to grow up. How to listen to the old people, but also, never to be disobedient. We must never be disobedient; we must always obey the instructions of our old people and people in authority; always do the right thing; never be greedy; never be a thief and so on.

So all these little things are embedded in the stories to our children. That’s why the stories are so powerful as an education tool when we’re teaching our young kids. We must always refer back to the stories because they’re the ones that’s going to give them the guidance that they need today.

Why the stories are told

My name is Warren Foster, I come from the Yuin-Monaro tribe of Wallaga Lake, far south coast of New South Wales.

Why these stories are being told is because they keep our culture alive. Keeps us living and knowing that we’re living. ‘Cos these stories they were handed down by word of mouth for generations upon generations for thousands of years.

The reason that we tell these stories is to know where we’re coming from. Gives us an identity of the people. And if we know where we’re coming from, we know where we’re going. As long as we keep telling these stories we know that our culture is alive and running strong through our veins.

Why I like telling the stories is because it’s keeping the culture alive. As I get older, I’m going to pass it down to younger generations so that they get interested in it and that they keep the culture going.

I’d like to see more young blackfellas get right into their culture and start learning more about their culture.

Knowing their stories, their songs and dance and art. Keep it alive.

(Warren Foster. Wallaga Lake, New South Wales, 1998)