Fingal Headland, Point Danger, Mount Warning and the McPherson Range are a matrix of significant Origine’ sites which together form a sacred Initiation Songline for the Bird Tribes of Eastern Australia…..
“I want to share with you an important Ngarakbul Githabul creation Lore about our Sky Ancestors, Burrajahnee and Inneroogun…Two sacred dogs …. This is a “Boodharam gawari”, which means story ‘run’, or Songline, with all of the associated djurebil, sacred sites, connected across the landscape, and in the sky”…..
“It is an Initiation Songline which follows annual star paths …and those two dogs can be seen in the sky at special times each year, so our people know when the initiations are to begin”…. “It instructs initiates into Ancestor Lore about hunting rights, access and skinlore relationships….The Ngarakbul spirit being ‘Wollumbin’, a feathered serpent totemic being – is spirit man – a wild turkey who lives inside the volcano caldera with his nephew ‘Burrigan’ since the Dreamtime.
“A tribal Grandfather/Uncle is very significant in Skinlore rites, and so is the kinship Skinlore of nephew/initiate…..This Bootheram teaches the initiate about the crime of Greed when Wollumbin is robbed, and the perpetrators punished”….
“Theft is a very serious crime in any global culture….For our people the landscape and the sky are the story board that teaches us this first lore and all our ancestral lore….Our Lore never needed to be written down…It was given to us by Nguthungulli –God – and it never changes, because no man or corporation or government can change the stars”….
“The whole of the Wollumbin Caldera has many significant Starlore, Marriage Lore, Creation Lore, Increase and Initiation ritual sites, which we call ‘Djurebil’ that tell our creation stories…every time we look at or walk in those ancient mountains, and every time we gaze at the stars we are reminded of our ancestors and of the sacred lore obligations they gave us”….
“Way back when Nguthungulli descended to earth and made the first Bird Tribes, he made Wollumbin, the Headman of Ngarakbul, and Wollumbin owned two dogs…. one male and one female…… each dog has djurebil at Mount Warning, and Fingal Head…. and their bodies create many significant peaks all along the McPherson Range……. running up from ‘Coolhoon’, which is one of our words for the Blue Fig or Quandong tree growth cycle…….Coolhoon is also what the Ngarakbul call Point Danger at Tweed Heads”….
“The river and headlands were very different before occupation….There was no state border and there used to be caves and many basalt crystal rock formations the same as at Puningbah, Fingal…… These giant crystals ran from Coolhoon [Point Danger] all the way down along the stretch of coast called Byron Bay and all were called Puning, which means echidna, because ….From Currumbin to Coorumbah, Cape Byron”….
“There was a sacred basalt island in the entrance of the Tweed River as well…sacred to the black dog spirit…. But all those crystals were blown up to build the break-walls and the railways, and our old people were forced to relocate from the Aboriginal Reserve which was also in the river entrance….it’s gone now too..reclaimed as a part of Greenbank Island”.
“The authorities were clever – they put a border right at the djurebil site of the star initiation rites….They made the New South Wales and Queensland Border and severed the ancestral lore most effectively…….. The Rainbow Serpent Traditions, Lore’s and Customs were slated for genocide and to survive became forced underground….and still being ignored by the authorities today…which is a great shame for our endangered culture and the endangered species it honours”……
“Burrajahnee and Inneroogun, those two spirit dog, chased a kangaroo along the big bay…… Then they chased him over the volcano to Boonah, near Beaudesert, in Queensland”…..
“Those dogs kept chasing that kangaroo and eventually came to water and then lay on the bank….. While they slept two young girls from a nearby camp came, saw the dogs, and went off to bring more people down to the river…. After spearing the two dogs, they put them on a pole and began cooking them over a fire….. fire in Ngarakbal Githabul is Weybra ”…….
“Wollumbin, the Turkey Spirit, had followed his dogs and knew they had been killed……. He flew down onto the Boonah flat where his dogs were being cooked and he was so furious that he caused a wild storm to come and punish the people…Killing the whole tribe”…
“Wollumbin then took the corpses of his dogs off the fire, wrapped them in bark, and as he flew across the country, parts of the dogs’ bodies dropped onto the ground below and formed djurebil in the the landscape….the male dog creating the rim of the volcano which is now known as the McPherson Ranges- Springbrook & Lamington National Parks…and the female creating the smaller ranges of Terranora, Tumbulgum and Kynumboon on back towards Yar-Birrain, Mount Warning”……
“My Great Grandfather, Euston Williams, was the chainman for Phinney MacPherson who surveyed and named the rugged McPherson Ranges of the New South Wales Queensland Border with the Roberts survey team and worked with Edwin Johnson who surveyed Coolhoon …… Lore, Land and Language are linked, so the surveyors used Ngarakbal Githabal language on the original maps”…..
“Henry Brown was one of the first white men at Coolhoon – Tweed Heads – and Brown manned the first Pilot Station at the head of the river…his British name was given to some of our old tribal people…but before the white man came we all had skin names given to us by our creation ancestors…and we are related through kinship traditions from that same time”…..
“In the beginning time Warazum the Rainbow Serpent and Wiangarie the Seven Sisters created and seeded the landscape in readiness for Nguthungulli, our Father, to create the people and teach us the lore…..Nguthungulli made all the animals, including the Bird Tribes and then gave us our feathered serpent traditions lore’s and customs…..Our totemic tribal names. Our Skinlore”…..
”Every evening our Sky Ancestors travel across the heavens, just as they have done since the alcheringa ‘– the beginning……… Alcheringa is also the name of our sacred waterfall high in the Lamington National Park….a fountainhead of spiritual knowledge…. it is where Wollumbin placed those two sacred dogs last remains before he took their spirits back into the sky”…
“Tribes would travel from all over the ancestral estates to attend star ceremonies at the Coowarragum Lore Ring ‘complex’ below the Pinnacle to celebrate seasonal harvest, sacred marriage, the elements and the Sky Ancestor spirits ………and, when the time was right, it was also a centre for initiates, male and female, to attend their ‘Nyirgi’ training for initiation through the First Rule; and ‘Magihyn‘ – second level initiation lore”…….
“The Bootheram of Burrajahee and Inneroogun the two dog spirit Sky Ancestors was taught to all ‘Nyirgi’ initiates…...it has many layers and lore metaphors…… and the beginning of the Songline was always told by the Headman of each area…and because it begins at Cooloon it was commenced by Joe Calhum [Cooloom]a Ngarakbul man”…..
“Old Joe was from the tribal clan on the river at Cooloon but he resided at Mulli Mulli Aboriginal Reserve near Woodenbong with my Great Grandparents, Euston Williams and Charlotte Brown… the old people had been sent to Mulli Mulli after colonial settlement took their ancestral lands and forced relocation from the coastal labour camps …many Calhum descendants live in Woodenbong still”…..
The Bootheram of Burrajahee and Inneroogun the two dog spirit Sky Ancestors teaches the first ‘Nyirgi’ Lore – “DON’T BE GREEDY”…it goes like this”….
“Where the north-eastern border of NSW & the south-eastern border of Qld meet lies the rugged MacPherson Range, and on this range there is a plateau known to the white man as Lamington Plateau…….. Many long years ago in the Dreamtime, in a very young world, there lived an old man and his nephew on the Lamington Plateau. The Old man and his nephew had two dogs of which they were very fond……The dogs were named Burrajahnee and Inneroogun”….
“One day Burrajahnee and Inneroogun saw a kangaroo. They chased it down the side of the plateau. When the old man and his nephew saw the dogs chasing the kangaroo, they called out to them… “Burrajahnee and Inneroogun, come back to us!”……
“The dogs took no notice for they were excited by the chase. Some people from a tribe that lived near the plateau also saw the dogs chasing the kangaroo….. When they saw the kangaroo running towards the lagoon, they placed two nets in the pathway…….. The kangaroo was big and strong. He got through the first net, he got through the second net, jumped into the lagoon and turned into a bunyip; and there he lives to this day”….
“Burrajahnee and Inneroogun also got through the first net, but they were caught in the second one…… The people who had tried to catch the kangaroo killed the two dogs, saying to each other “they will serve us as food as well as the Kangaroo…… We shall light a fire and cook them”…. And they did”.
“When the dogs failed to return the old man and nephew were sad, because they knew some evil had befallen them…….. They went to look for their dogs, and tracked them down the side of the plateau to the place where the fire had been lit, calling out “Burrajahnee and Inneroogun come back to us”….. Great was the anger of the old man and his nephew when they found their dogs had been killed and cooked……. The old man sent a big cyclone to destroy the people who had killed Burrajahnee and Inneroogun”…..
“The uncle and the nephew picked up the dogs, wrapped them in bark, and carried them reverently back to the plateau…….. Whenever any part of the dogs, such as a foreleg or foot, fell off as they were being carried back to the plateau the placed was named after it and is known by the same name to this day”…..
“On the way back to the plateau they came to a waterfall…… They climbed to the top and sat down and rested placing their burdens on the ground…… One of them faced in one direction and the other facing in the opposite direction….. There the remains of the two dogs Burrajahnee and Inneroogun were turned into stone”…..
“Those two dogs are still to be seen at the top of the waterfall. One facing in one direction and the other in the opposite direction”……
“The stone dogs are sacred – No man dares to touch them….. To the tribe of people who are descendants of the old man the stone dogs will always be sacred, and the part of the plateau were they began to chase the kangaroo is called Goonbundah”…..
“Stan Williams was my Grandfather and Charlotte Brown, was his Ngarakbul mother from Tweed Heads; and his tribal uncle, was Joe Calhoun…..These are all first settlers names, not Origine’ Skinlore-names – they had to take the settlers names to survive “……
“The last initiated Ngarakbul and Githabul tribal Elders taught Stan all the Feathered Serpent Bootheram Lore and invested in him the preservation of the custodial knowledge and traditions of our Origine’ people, after British occupation” ……
“ Stan Williams held the Bootheram Lore intact …….The same lore has been faithfully passed down in my family since the beginning of the Dreamtime …This is how our grandparents taught us to love and care for country, and each other, and to continue the sacred rituals to ‘increase’ the animals, plants and sacred waters….. To Love and Protect all of the gifts given to us by the Great Spirit “…….
“That’s the Lore my Grandfather taught me “……
Allan Euston Williams
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