This story is about how the White Waratah became red and the story starts off about these two little pigeons, a little pair of Wonga pigeons. Now, when the Wonga pigeons mate, they always mate for life and whatever they do, they always do it together. If they’re building a nest, they build it together. If they’re rearing their young, they do it together too.
These two little pigeons decided they wanted to go and gather food this morning and when you see pigeons, you never see them sitting up in the trees eating, you always see them walking around on the ground, picking up things.
So these two little Wonga pigeons were walking around on the ground, picking away, picking away, gathering food and they had a rule never to get out of one another’s sight. As they were picking around, the little female looked up and she couldn’t see her mate, but she didn’t take any notice for a little while, so she picked around on the ground by herself. She kept looking up every so often, then after a while she started to worry about her mate, because there was no sign of him.
So she started calling out and still no reply. This went on for a little while and their rule was never to fly up above the canopy of the trees, either, because the hawks would get them. So she flitted around in the lower branches, calling out to her mate and still no reply. She got to the stage where she thought ‘the only thing I can do now is fly up above the top of the trees and have a look up there’.
As she flew up above the tree tops, sure enough, the big hawk grabbed her and he grabbed her on the breast.
Hawks always have their favourite places to take their food and eat it. So as this big hawk was flying back to his favourite spot to eat this little pigeon, somehow she wriggled and squirmed and broke free of his grip.
As she tore away from the hawk, she also tore her breast open too and started bleeding.
She couldn’t fly anymore because she was wounded, so she floated down to the ground and the first thing she landed on was the White Waratah. The blood from her wounds started to turn that White Waratah red.
So as she went from Waratah to Waratah to White Waratah, they all became red.
So that little Wonga never found her mate and she died eventually herself, but that’s how the White Waratah became red.
The Red Waratahs have just finished flowering, but if you go up to a Red Waratah while it’s in flower and poke your finger into the flower itself and bring it out, you’ll get a red stain around your finger. That red stain represents the blood from the pigeon.